Judge John Roberts (front, center) arrives for the first day of his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 12. Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) and ranking minority member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are seen behind Roberts.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday began confirmation hearings on Judge John Robert's nomination to be the nation's 17th chief justice. The day focused on opening statements from the 10 Republican and 8 Democratic senators on the panel, and from the nominee.
Hear highlights from Monday's proceedings:
NPR Wrap-Up: Monday (50-minute clip)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) says senators need to know Roberts' views on civil rights and other hot-button issues.
Sen. Mike Dewine (R-OH) says Americans worry the Supreme Court 'is unmaking the constitution.'
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) says based on the record so far, he'd vote 'no' on Roberts.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) warns against 'politicizing the judiciary.'
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says it would be 'hard' for her to vote for someone who might overturn 'Roe v. Wade.'
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) worries that some judges are imposing their personal preferences when interpreting the Constitution.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) worries about what is not known about Roberts.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says Bush nominated a 'strict conservative… uh, constructionist.'
Judge John Roberts told the committee that 'judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent' and said he has 'no agenda.' Hear Roberts' opening statement in full.