Eye on Washington

October 1, 2005

Supreme Court gets a new chief justice, grand plans emerge for rebuilding flood-ravaged Gulf Coast, and OTC status for Plan B again in limbo.

The first Monday in October was the day the Supreme Court opened a new session. This year, John Roberts, brand-new chief justice, presides. Roberts was confirmed just in time for the court's opening, taking the place made vacant by the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in September. With Roberts safely on the bench, senators who spent most of past month trying to find out what his views really are on sticky issues such as abortion and the right to die may get some answers.

Attention in Congress this month will focus almost entirely on filling in the broad outlines of the Gulf Coast reconstruction plan laid out by President George W. Bush. And-if the president sends a nomination for the second vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement-the Senate will also be considering the qualifications of that candidate.