[JURIST] The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] wasted no time in asking for the thoughts of Chief Justice nominee John Roberts [JURIST news archive] on abortion and the 1973 high court decision in Roe v. Wade during Tuesday's round of confirmation hearings. In the morning session [Washington Post transcript] Roberts followed the precedent of other Supreme Court nominees in declining to prejudge cases that may come before him and steered clear of saying if he favored reversing the ruling or not. He did say, however, that the case is "settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis." He also expressed a belief that the right to privacy is protected under the Constitution "in various ways" despite having written a memo as a young attorney referring to the "so-called right to privacy." Reuters has more. In addition to the Washington Post's running transcript of the official proceedings, up-to-the-minute "liveblogs" of the Day 2 hearings are being provided by SCOTUSblog and the Post itself.
Meanwhile Tuesday, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) [official website] asked the Judiciary Committee to explore Roberts' thought on civil rights in light of the Bush administration's refusal to release documents from Roberts' tenure in the solicitor general's office and Roberts having turned down its request for a meeting. In a letter to the Committee, CBC chair Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) [official profile] and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) [official profile] wrote:
Our country's transformation on race could not have been achieved lawfully and nonviolently without the decisions of the Supreme Court. We hope that you agree that this achievement at a minimum deserves a central place in your examination of the nominee.
AP has more.