by Steven Ertelt
September 14, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Day one of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on nominee John Roberts saw an intense exchange between Roberts and various senators on the issue of abortion. While Roberts generally avoided making a commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade or not, he set up the legal groundwork by which the high court could reverse the decision.
Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Family Research Council’s Senior Legal Fellow and former Chief Counsel to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, congratulated Roberts on his "masterful" performance.
"Under tough questioning from Republicans and Democrats, Judge Roberts showed the world why he has the makings of an exemplary Chief Justice of the Supreme Court," Ruse said.
"Specifically we were pleased with Judge Roberts’ answers about Roe v. Wade," Ruse explained. "Judge Roberts refused to give hints or projections about how he might evaluate a future abortion case before the Court, but carefully stated what the law is on the matter of stare decisis and repeatedly pledged to follow the rule of law."
Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women of America, praised Roberts as well.
"We firmly believe that Judge Roberts’ statements and opinions demonstrate his unequivocal belief in and deference to the text of the Constitution and the intent of the Founders," she said.
"After an initial round of questions on Roe, one of the most difficult issues that John Roberts will face during his confirmation process, it would appear that he is being in the words of Christ, ‘as wise as a serpent, yet harmless as a dove,’" added Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the conservative National Clergy Council.
"There remain many more questions and answers, but I like what I see so far and I’m sure millions of others do as well," he said.
Ruse said she was dismayed that some senators have been focusing on Roberts’ Catholic faith as an excuse to vote against his nomination.
"Judge Roberts testified that nothing in his personal views based on faith or other sources would prevent him from applying the law faithfully. This should be the end of the matter," Ruse said, calling any further interrogation an "unconstitutional religious test."
The Culture of Life Foundation was more pointed in its criticism of pro-abortion California Sen. Diane Feinstein, who asked Roberts about his faith.
"Using the context of John Kennedy’s Catholicism, Senator Feinstein asked Judge Roberts if he believed in an absolute separation of Church and state," the group said in a statement. "In her questions and comments Senator Feinstein invoked those terrible debates in America about whether Catholics could have a role in the public square. Apparently Senator Feinstein agrees with those who feared faithful Catholics in public office."