John Roberts Confirmation Hearings Begin

The confirmation hearings for John Roberts begin today. Sounds like abortion will probably be the biggest focus, more specifically Roe v. Wade.

WASHINGTON – With the first confirmation hearing of a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court in more than a decade set to begin here this afternoon, at least two key elements of the event are largely unresolved: the manner in which senators will approach the issue of abortion and the length of the hearing. What has become clear in recent days is that the answers to the questions are intimately linked.

The central issue of the hearing on the president’s nomination of Judge John Roberts Jr. to replace William Rehnquist as chief justice is expected to be the right to privacy that the Supreme Court established in overturning a Connecticut law that banned the sale of contraceptives in 1965, and which it later affirmed in the Roe v. Wade case that nullified state bans on abortion. Several Democrats and at least one Republican on the Senate’s 18-person Judiciary Committee have said they will press Judge Roberts on the matter. It is unclear, though, how abortion will be broached.

ScrappleFace has a leaked e-mail from Senator Edward Kennedy containing a list of questions the senator plans to ask Roberts. Tom Goldstein at the SCOTUSblog will be live-blogging the hearings.