Conservatives Pray as Roberts Meets Senators

On the first day after his nomination as Supreme Court Justice, Judge John G. Roberts made a visit to Capitol Hill to visit with some of the influential senators that could confirm him in upcoming hearings.

The nominee met with both conservatives and liberals. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist escorted Roberts in the Capitol. The conservative Senator from Tennessee lauded Roberts, calling him "the best of the best" among the legal minds of the nation.

Conservative Christians are hoping that Roberts will shift the balance of the nine member Supreme Court so that it opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, while promoting religious freedom.

Yesterday, Christian conservatives were pleased with Roberts' nomination. However, many will be praying so that his confirmation can quickly take place.

The Rev. Rob Schenk of the National Clergy Council, an interdenominational ministry with the mission of bringing a Christian perspective to public policy, said prayers for Roberts and the President were on the minds of the faithful.

"The nomination of Judge John G. Roberts is an answer to the prayers of millions of Americans. The President has demonstrated extraordinary moral courage and deserves the full cooperation of the Senate in bringing about a swift confirmation." said the Reverend.

President Bush has urged a quick confirmation. So far, no Senator has expressed the desire to block Judge Roberts' nomination with a filibuster.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also met with Roberts and expressed his view that the confimations would go at a relatively quick pace.

"I don't think I've heard a single Democrat talk about an extended debate," he told Reuters. Reid added that background checks still had to be made, along with a thorough review of Roberts' record.

Abortion has been one of the key social issues for Christian conservatives. In 1990 Roberts helped to write a Supreme Court brief in favor of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion.

Since the words were written on behalf of a client, some say it is not clear what Roberts' personal opinions on abortion would be.

Operation Rescue, a Christian group that has campaigned against the abortion, favored the nomination.

"A culture of life can never be built as long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

"We appreciate President Bush being a man of his word by appointing a judge that will respect the Right to Life acknowledged by our nation's founding documents," said Newman.

Roberts previously worked as a lawyer for the organization, according to the New York Times.

Regarding prayers at graduation ceremonies in schools, during his time as a lawyer, Roberts argued before the Court that prayer could be acceptable.

"We do not believe ... that graduation ceremonies pose a risk of coercion," he stated.

In another religion case where Roberts represented the first Bush administration, he said that prohibiting a religious group from meeting on school property violated the Equal Access Act, and that giving such an opportunity did not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, according to the Associated Press.

Roberts' time on the federal bench prior to the nomination has been relatively short. He spent two years on the Washington District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.