Senate Hearings on John Roberts Will Still Focus on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Hearings on John Roberts Will Still Focus on Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Hearings on the nomination of John Roberts to become the next chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court opened today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The testimony will consist of opening remarks from all 18 committee members, followed by introductory remarks by three senators introducing Roberts. Then, the nominee will give his own remarks.

While observers predict Roberts will receive strong support from the committee, he will first have to answer a barrage of questions on a multitude of political issues, including abortion.

Over the weekend, Sen. Arlen Specter, the pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican who heads the committee, said he wouldn’t specifically ask Roberts about his abortion views. Instead, he plans to query Roberts about his views on the so-called right to privacy, the fictitious right the high court invented to allow legal abortions in Roe v. Wade.

However, other members of the committee planned to ask Roberts more directly about abortion and, in her opening remarks, one member pointed directly to the expected confrontation.

As the only woman on the judicial panel, Sen. Diane Feinstein, a pro-abortion California Democrat, said she had an obligation to find out more about where Roberts stands on the issue of abortion.

"For me, one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed by Judge Roberts is the constitutional right to privacy," Feinstein said. "It would be very difficult for me to vote to confirm someone to the Supreme Court whom I knew would overturn Roe v. Wade."

"The Senate must decide whether Judge Roberts is prepared to uphold," the controversial Supreme Court case, Feinstein added.

Roberts is believed to be pro-life when it comes to abortion and political observers point to a number of former quotes and comments to come to that conclusion.

During his tenure as deputy solicitor general under former President Bush, Roberts authored a memo for a Supreme Court case which argued Roe v. Wade was bad law and should be overturned.

Meanwhile, in an October 1985 memo, Roberts called abortion a "tragedy."

In responding to a constituent letter, he wrote that President Reagan’s "position is that the fetuses were human beings, or at least cannot be proven not to have been, and accordingly a memorial service would seem an entirely appropriate means of calling attention to the abortion tragedy."