After three days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, between declining to answer questions on specific cases and legal issues, Roberts made clear that his interpretation of the Constitution is more varied and flexible than that of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, singled out by President Bush as models for the sorts of justices he planned to appoint.
"I think the framers, when they used broad language like 'liberty,' like 'due process,' like 'unreasonable' with respect to search and seizures, they were crafting a document that they intended to apply in a meaningful way down the ages," Roberts said.
He said he would consider not only how the framers of the Constitution understood those words, but also how courts have interpreted and applied them.
That approach disappointed some conservative legal scholars, The New York Times said Friday.
Roberts had been nominated to replace William Rehnquist as chief justice of the United States.