Roberts' Confirmation as Chief Justice Expected Soon

The full senate has been debating the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts for the position of Chief Justice, but it is expected that he will be confirmed as early as Wednesday, with two thirds of Senators already announcing they will vote for him.

During the senate floor debates in Washington that have been taking place since Monday, many complimented Roberts. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), noted hopefully that Roberts would be a positive force among his colleagues in the Supreme Court.

"The word is that the justices very much applaud his nomination to be chief justice," Specter said, according to the Associated Press. "He has the potential, almost from a running start, to bring a new day and a new era to the Supreme Court."

The 55 Republican senators are expected to vote for the judge unanimously, while the remaining Democrats will cast a divided vote.

Conservative Christian support for Roberts has been favorable for the judge. Some, however, have said they would have liked to hear more of Roberts' opinions on controversial issues such as abortion, Ten Commandments monuments, and school prayer issues.

During last week's judiciary hearings, Roberts frustrated some Senators by refusing to give his opinion on certain cases he said were likely to come before the court, citing a need to be fair to future nominees by not revealing his views, in order to base his judgments on the facts presented before him.

In making the case for Roberts, one senator praised Roberts as a star among his legal peers.

"If being intelligent, brilliant, a superb lawyer, the greatest legal mind of your generation and well qualified is not enough, what is?" said Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to AP.

Another, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who was also on the judiciary committee and questioned Roberts during the hearings, endorsed the candidate.

"Judge Roberts' impeccable legal credentials, his reputation and record as a fair-minded person, and his commitment to modesty and respect for precedent have persuaded me that he will not bring an ideological agenda," said Feingold, according to AP.

However, Sen. Evan Bay (D-In.) reflected the view of some senators when said he could not vote for Roberts because of the judge's reticence on important issues.

"I cannot vote to confirm, not because I oppose John Roberts, but because we simply do not know enough about his views on critical issues to make a considered judgment," Bayh said.

It is expected that President Bush will announce a successor to retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor soon after the senate votes.