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Senators have conflict questions for nominee Roberts

[JURIST] Senators Charles Schumer [official website] and Russ Feingold [official website] said Wednesday that they expected US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to address why he chose not to recuse himself [Schumer press release] from the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [PDF opinion text] case before the DC Circuit challenging the Bush adminstration's position on the legality of military commissions when he was already being interviewed by the White House as a potential US Supreme Court nominee. The lawsuit was decided in favor of the government three months after Roberts had begun interviewing [AP report].

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the only female on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that she will especially concentrate on Roberts' policies on abortion [AP report] and the limits on congressional authority, especially while setting social policy. Although the Judiciary Committee has enough Republican votes to send Roberts to the Senate floor, as a moderate Democrat, Feinstein's vote might influence other Democrats there. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter [official website] has meanwhile said in a letter [PDF text] to Roberts that he will scrutinize him on the high court's activisim, believing that some justices may consider themselves "super legislatures" who usurp congressional authority when making public policy decisions. AP has more.

In further Roberts news Wednesday, two influential Washington lobbying groups staked out public positions on his nomination. The US Chamber of Commerce [advocacy website] announced its support [press release] of Roberts, while the liberal group People for the American Way [advocacy website] announced they will not support this Bush nominee [press release]. AP has more.

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