WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 Thursday to recommend the nomination of John Roberts as chief justice of the United States.
All 10 of the Republicans on the 18-member committee and three Democrats voted to approve the nomination. Voting "no" were Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Those who voted against the nomination generally complained about Roberts not being forthcoming enough during committee hearings last week. Civil rights and abortion rights activists had raised concerns about Roberts as chief justice.
Roberts, 50, next faces the full Senate, which is scheduled to vote on his nomination next week. With 55 Republicans in the Senate, he is virtually assured of becoming the country's 17th chief justice. He will likely be in place Oct. 3 when the new Supreme Court term begins.
During Thursday's committee voting process, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., in a generally negative speech said that he was voting for Roberts because people the senator spoke with saw Roberts as "open-minded, respectful, thoughtful, devoted to the law and truly one of the great legal minds of his time."