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Senate Judiciary Committee chair formally backs Roberts for Chief Justice

[JURIST] US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], told the Senate Monday that he will vote for Judge John Roberts [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], nominated by President Bush as Chief Justice of the United States. Specter nonetheless acknowledged that Roberts had dodged some questions asked of him during the confirmation hearings and admitted, "Notwithstanding his answers and my efforts to glean some hint or realistic expectation from his words and body language, candidly it is not possible to predict or have a solid expectation of what Judge Roberts would do." If confirmed to succeed the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist [JURIST news archive], Roberts at the age of 50 will be the youngest Chief Justice named to the bench in two centuries. Even though Democrats have been frustrated with Roberts' refused to answer specific questions related to gender inequality, abortion [JURIST report] and other contentious issues, Specter said that he felt Judge Roberts "went about as far as he could" on those and properly stressed the importance of legal precedent. The Judiciary Committee will vote on its recommendation for the nomination Thursday, with the full Senate voting on whether or not to confirm Roberts during the week of September 26. Reuters has more.

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