.- The nomination of Judge John G. Roberts--a Catholic--to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now head to the full U.S. Senate. Roberts has been at the center of a heated debate over the role of personal faith in public life. Many have accused certain Senators of trying to apply an unconstitutional “religious litmus test” on Roberts and dragging the country back into a period of bigotry against Catholics.
While some democrats have feared that Roberts will try to overturn abortion laws and oppose them on other life issues held by the Catholic Church, others have voiced their support for the judge, who has never let on what his personal convictions on the abortion subject are.
It is now expected that Roberts will be confirmed to the position although some are still holding on to their opposition pending a vote of the full Senate.
Senate minority leader Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who had been vocally skeptical in the scrutinizing process announced that he would support for the nomination.
Attention now largely turns to President Bush’s upcoming nomination to fill the position of retiring Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whom Roberts was slated to replace before the surprising death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist last