Senate Prepared to Approve John Roberts for Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Prepared to Approve John Roberts for Supreme Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The Senate today is prepared to approve the nomination of John Roberts to become the next Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. All 55 of the Republican members of the Senate plan to vote for Roberts and he will also receive the support for about half of the 44 Democrats in the chamber.

As a young attorney and judge, Roberts’ leadership of the court could change the face of American law for decades and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, in remarks prior to the vote, pointed that out.

"With the confirmation of John Roberts, the Supreme Court will embark upon a new era in its history, the Roberts era," Frist said. "And for many years to come, long after many of us have left public service, the Roberts court will be deliberating on some of the most difficult and fundamental questions of U.S. law."

While Republicans will vote for Roberts, Democrats are split with leading abortion advocates voting against him because he refused to say he would back abortion.

Other Democrats are supporting him, such as Carl Levin of Michigan, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Patty Murray of Washington, and Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, both of Wisconsin; Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Demcorats from states Bush won in 2004 are also backing Roberts, such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and North Dakota’s two senators, Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan.

Other Democrats have announced support for him, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Should the Senate approve Roberts, he will be quickly sworn in at a White House ceremony so he can take his seat in advance of the high court’s upcoming term, which begins next week.

Roberts will quickly be thrust into the limelight on key pro-life issues such as abortion and assisted suicide.

On abortion, Roberts has not yet ruled on any cases and did tell the Senate Judiciary Committee whether he would vote to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case that ushered in an era of 44 million abortions.

However, Roberts did set the stage for overturning the decision by talking about how and when long-standing Supreme Court precedents should be overturned. nat1612.html

Roberts has also taken a position in favor of state laws prohibiting assisted suicide. He will be confronted with a case pitting the Bush administration against the state of Oregon.

The Justice Department has said that Oregon may not use any federally controlled drugs in assisted suicides because they don’t constitute a "legitimate medical purpose." The Supreme Court will rule whether or not the Bush administration can do that.

Roberts would replace pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who passed away and was one of the original dissenters in Roe. Pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has announced her retirement and President Bush has promised to name a replacement for her soon, perhaps as early as today.