Reasons to Be Concerned about Roberts' Record, Kennedy Says

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - During Monday's confirmation hearing for Judge John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) praised Roberts for being an "intelligent, well-educated and serious man," but those qualities "do not end the inquiry of our responsibility," he said.

Kennedy also criticized the Bush administration for not giving Democrats access to all of Roberts' records and called on Roberts to speak on the record regarding his views on abortion and other issues.

"Because the administration at least so far has chosen not to allow the Senate to have access to his full record, we can only wonder what they don't want us to know," said Kennedy.

"In particular, we need to know his views on civil rights, voting rights, and the right to privacy, especially the removal of existing barriers to fair lives for women, minorities, and the disabled," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the Senate was never intended "to be a rubber stamp for a president's nominees to the Supreme Court, and as George Washington himself found out, it has not been.

"Judges are appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and it is our duty to ask questions on great issues that matter to the American people and speak for them," said the Massachusetts senator.

"Judge Roberts, I hope you will respond fully and candidly to such questions, not just to earn our approval, but to prove to the American people that you have earned a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land," added Kennedy.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, there are real and serious reasons to be deeply concerned about Judge Roberts' records. Many of his past statements and writings raise questions about his commitment to equal opportunity and to the bipartisan remedies we've adopted in the past," said Kennedy.

Roberts has a strong approval rating and is widely expected to be confirmed.

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