Roberts' Confirmation Hearings Begin

Confirmation hearings begin at 11:30 ET for Judge John Roberts. You can watch them here. If confirmed, he will be the youngest Chief Justice in the past 200 years. That's important, because it means he will be shaping our jurisprudence for decades to come.

Roberts is expected to be confirmed, although his questioning may become testy at times. According to Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin, there are good reasons for the Democrats to stand up to the President and ask Roberts the tough questions.

The hearings are set for four days. The Associated Press has this handy guide. On Monday, there will be five-minute opening statments by the 18 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by Roberts' statement. Questioning of Roberts begins Tuesday, with each Senator on the Committee expected to take about an hour. After the questioning, there will be testimony by 30 witnesses, half chosen by each party.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a useful primer on decoding the legalese at the hearings.

Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter said on Meet the Press Sunday that he will not ask Roberts about his views on specific issues like overturning Roe v. Wade. He will ask Roberts about whether he believes the Constitution contains a right to privacy.

With Roberts' confirmation seemingly a fait accompli, there is much speculation about whom President Bush will nominate to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Sen. Specter said on Meet the Press that it's too soon for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to "move up." This legal news article focuses on former Chief Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. Newsweek's Periscope has some other names, and quotes Sen. John Cornyn as saying that Bush likely won't name the nominee until after Roberts' nomination reaches the Senate floor.

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    Re: Roberts' Confirmation Hearings Begin (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:41 PM EST
    What's in John Roberts' papers from Bush 41 that Bush 43 doesn't want the world to see? "Roberts, Poppy and Iran-Contra"

    Re: Roberts' Confirmation Hearings Begin (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:41 PM EST
    if it's expected that, pretty much regardless of robert's past opinings, the democrats will roll over and play dead, what's the point? once he's confirmed, it really doesn't mean diddly what he did or didn't say during the confirmation process. this is shaping up to be bad drama, which i can see any day on the soaps.