Specter will not ask Roberts about Roe

Sept. 11, 2005 at 5:57 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee thinks it would be inappropriate to ask Supreme Court nominee John Roberts about specific court decisions.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Roberts could be asked more general questions -- such as whether he believes the Constitution includes a right to privacy. But he said he will not ask Roberts whether he would vote to uphold the Roe vs. Wade ruling on abortion or whether he thinks the decision was correct.

President Bush named Roberts last week to succeed Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died last weekend. Roberts, a federal appeals judge, had already been nominated to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has said she will retire as soon as her replacement is confirmed.

As chair of the Judiciary Committee, Specter will preside over Roberts' confirmation hearing, scheduled to begin Monday.

"I think it is inappropriate to ask him head-on if he's going to overturn Roe, but I believe that there are many questions close to the issue, like his respect for precedent," Roberts said. "He has emphasized his concern about stability, and we'll get a better idea of his views."

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