The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning finished the public questioning of Chief Justice nominee John Roberts.
After three rounds of questioning, Democrats continued to express frustration with Roberts' lack of direct answers on his positions on many issues — such as civil rights, abortion, affirmative action — likely to come before the Supreme Court. Though Republicans on the panel have also probed Roberts on end-of-life decisions and other controversial issues, they have remained strongly supportive of his candidacy for chief justice.
As a lawyer, Roberts has taken positions representing both sides of such hot-button issues as employment discrimination against gays, environmental protections and affirmative action. Throughout the hearings, Roberts has repeatedly told the Senate panel that his positions in legal briefs reflected not his personal views but the interests of his clients. During Thursday morning's additional round of questioning, which was specifically requested by Democrats, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) pressed Roberts on where his loyalties truly lie.
"If the Constitution says that the little guy should win, then the little guy's going to win in the court before me," Roberts said. "But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well then the big guy's going to win because my obligation is to the Constitution."
Hear highlights from Thursday's proceedings. The morning's final round of questioning consisted solely of inquiries from Senate Democrats. The panel spent Thursday afternoon hearing testimony in open session from outside witnesses: