On the Nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court of the United States
The President has chosen a nominee. The Senate must now decide not only whether he has the intellect, character and integrity to serve on the highest court in the land, but whether he will be fair, impartial and independent in the administration of justice, and whether he is committed to the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms for all of our people. The Senate can carry out this responsibility only by conducting a thorough and searching inquiry into the nominee’s views of the Constitution and the judicial process. Only through such an inquiry can senators determine whether he harbors ideological preconceptions that place him outside the constitutional mainstream and would make it difficult for him to follow precedent or consider with an open mind each case that comes before him.
Having spent most of his career representing private clients and the government, Judge Roberts has served for only a brief period on the federal bench. It is too early to form a definitive judgment on how he would approach his responsibilities if confirmed. But the Senate should examine with care his writings and the many matters in which he represented the government — including a controversial brief in which he argued that Roe v. Wade should be overruled. The country has a right to know — and he deserves an opportunity to explain — whether the brief represented his personal views and whether it reflects his views today.
Supreme Court justices serve for a lifetime. The Senate must make sure it has all of the facts before giving its consent.