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Abortion will be an Important Issue in the Roberts Supreme Court Hearings

September 12th 2005

Abortion will be an Important Issue in the Roberts Supreme Court Hearings

Roberts and the President

Hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee opened today to deliberate the next chief justice of the Supreme Court.  Judge John Roberts was nominated last month by President Bush to fill the vacancy for retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  After Chief Justice Rehnquist died last week Roberts is now being considered for that top post. 

Roberts is expected to receive strong support from the committee.  The agenda includes opening remarks by all 18 committee members followed by introductory remarks by only three of the senators.  After Roberts is introduced he will give his own opening remarks.  He will need to answer a litany of questions from the 18 member panel.   

He will be quizzed on his abortion position.  For some members this will be their primary concern, although chairman of the committee, senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, is not expected to bring up the abortion topic.  Specter told NBC’s Meet the Press he will question Roberts about his views on the right to privacy.  "I think that's a fair question," Mr. Specter said, "and I intend to ask it."  Many Pro-life advocates feel this is a fictitious issue invented during the Roe v Wade court battle. 


Other senators will jump right into the abortion topic.  Senator Diane Feinstein of California said she has an obligation to find out where Roberts stands on this issue.  "For me, one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed by Judge Roberts is the constitutional right to privacy." She went on to say "It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe v. Wade." 

There are a couple issues that need to be resolved.  The senators have not agreed on a time limit of the hearings.  Also they have not agreed on an topical approach to the issue of abortion.  Several of the Democrats and at least one Republican plan to press Roberts on the abortion issue.  It is unclear how abortion will be broached.

The committee has gone through many frustrating moments as they outline the questions they regard as acceptable and the ones that are not.  Specter has said he is reluctant to ask questions appearing to decide cases ahead of time.  The questions should be about the nominee’s extant writings according to Specter. 

Some senators have expressed frustration with their inability to view all of Judge Roberts personal writings, especially for some of his controversial cases.  The Bush administration, with the backing of Specter, has blocked some of these requests.   

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

 Books About the Supreme Court

Keywords and misspellings: Rehnquist Renquest Rinquest Renquist


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM