Senate to hear Roberts nomination Monday

Sept. 6, 2005 at 11:26 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate has scheduled confirmation hearings for Supreme Court chief justice nominee John Roberts for next Monday.

Roberts was originally nominated to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the court, with hearings to begin Tuesday. But the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist led President Bush to change Roberts nomination to chief justice.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., announced the new hearing date Tuesday morning. Earlier Frist had said the intent was to have Roberts confirmed by the full Senate by the time the Supreme Court begins its next session Oct. 3. Specter said he expected to complete his committee's hearings next week.

While Democrats have promised close scrutiny of Roberts record, the 50-year-old is expected to win confirmation and become the country's 17th chief justice.

Roberts was among eight former clerks of Rehnquist who Tuesday carried the casket bearing Rehnquist's body into the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court building.

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