Democrats Announce Support for John Roberts for Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Announce Support for John Roberts for Supreme Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 21, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Senate Democrats are beginning to announce their support for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and the momentum makes it almost a certainty he will be confirmed next week as chief justice. The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vermont’s Pat Leahy, says he will back Roberts for the post.

Leahy, an abortion advocate, said Roberts is a "man of integrity" and not someone with an "ideological agenda."

His support for Roberts comes less than a day after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn’t vote for Roberts because the nominee didn’t provide enough details about his position on abortion.

Leahy said he thought Roberts would not "to overrule or undercut" the so-called right to abortion.

Other Democrats have begun to announce their positions. Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy plan to vote no, but Montana’s Max Baucus, who also favors abortion, will support President Bush’s first pick for the high court.

‘‘After reviewing Judge John Roberts’ credentials and meeting with him privately, I have found that he meets my criteria for judges,” Baucus told the Associated Press.

Roberts counted on having the backing of pro-life Republicans, but he is also receiving support from pro-abortion GOP senators and Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee and Susan Collins have said they will vote for him.

Democratic Leader Reid said he couldn’t vote for Roberts because there "are too many unanswered questions" about where he stands on key issues. Reid admitted he was "very swayed" by abortion advocates who testified against Roberts on the last day of the committee hearings.

Reid’s comments Tuesday made it appear Democrats will not use the only tool in their arsenal available to stop Roberts — a filibuster.

"The question is close, and the arguments against him do not warrant extraordinary procedural tactics to block the nomination," Reid said on the floor of the Senate, referring to the filibuster.

The Senate Judiciary Committee votes Thursday and Roberts can count on at least a 11-7 split with Leahy and all of the Republicans backing him. Without a filibuster, Roberts is practically guaranteed to be approved next week when the full Senate votes.