It’s hard to predict how the confirmation process for US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, Jr. will play out, but a University of Missouri professor attempts to make a forecast based on the past. President Bush has nominated Roberts to take the place of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has announced her plans to retire. Associate Professor Doug Abrams teaches Constitutional Law and American Legal History at MU. He says there have been times when nominees received quick confirmation from the Senate, but not over the past 15-to-20 years, when, according to Abrams, confirmation proceedings have taken on a life of their own. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-to-3 to confirm Roberts to the Washington DC Court of Appeals two years ago. The full Senate approved his nomination by roll call vote. Abrams expects that to be brought up by his supporters, but to not carry all that much weight. He says opponents will dismiss the argument, saying the previous vote was to confirm Roberts for a much different judicial position. Abrams says the biggest task facing Senators is not looking into Roberts’ past, but trying to predict how he will rule in the future.
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