New Order in the Court:

Roberts Is Chief Justice

* The Supreme Court of the United States has a new chief justice. John G. Roberts Jr. was sworn in yesterday after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 78 to 22.

Roberts, 50, will start his new job Monday when the court begins its 2005-06 session. By tradition, the court term begins on the first Monday in October.

Roberts, who was a federal judge in Washington, D.C., is the third-youngest chief justice in the history of the court. He is the 17th person to be chief justice.

He takes the seat of William H. Rehnquist, who was chief justice from 1986 until he died this month. Roberts once worked for Rehnquist at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. Its role is to decide if laws are in keeping with the U.S. Constitution. Decisions of the Supreme Court are pretty much final. They can be changed only by another Supreme Court ruling or by an amendment (change) to the Constitution.

Bear With Us,

We Like Pandas

* Sam Besse of Laurel really loves giant pandas.

Sam, 9, loves them so much that he is raising money to help protect the endangered animals. He has created a newspaper called Panda Post (we love that name, Sam!) that he sells for 25 cents at his school, Bond Mill Elementary, and in his neighborhood.

So far he has raised more than $200 through sales of the paper and a raffle at his school. Sam is participating in the National Zoo's "Pennies for Pandas" campaign.

Sam dreams of becoming a vet who will take care of pandas. He wants to learn to speak Chinese so he can visit the animals' native habitats. He also sleeps with 17 stuffed pandas.

Sam already has voted in the contest to name the panda born in July at the zoo.

If you haven't voted, today is your last chance. You can vote online until 11:59 p.m. at www.fonz.org/cubname.htm. The panda's name will be announced at the zoo on Oct. 17.

What's black and white and read all over? Sam Besse's Panda Post.John G. Roberts Jr. will preside over the Supreme Court starting on Monday.