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Senate Democrats leader to oppose Roberts nomination

[JURIST] Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [official website] said Tuesday that he would vote against the nomination of Judge John Roberts [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] for Chief Justice of the United States because he had too many questions remaining about him. Reid's announcement while speaking on the Senate floor came as a surprise, as many expected him to support the nomination. Some speculated that Reid's declaration was a warning to President Bush to nominate a moderate to fill the second Court vacancy left by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [Wikipedia profile], a perennial swing vote in the Court's decisions. Reid said Roberts had not been completely forthcoming in his answers during confirmation hearings and did not distance himself sufficiently from his writings as an attorney in the Reagan administration. Reid admitted, however, that his decision was a close one and said he would not favor the use of a filibuster to block Roberts' nomination. That statement, which follows Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter's Monday backing of Roberts [JURIST report] in another Senate floor statement, makes it increasingly likely that Roberts will be confirmed by the Senate. A committee vote is expected on Thursday. The New York Times has more.

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