Breaking News

Delay in Roberts hearing

It now appears nearly certain that the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., will be delayed, although the length of the postponement appears not to have been settled yet. The Committee had planned to open hearings on Tuesday.

GOP leaders of the Senate reportedly have been discussing a delay at least until after the Chief Justice is buried on Wednesday. Senate Democrats have indicated they will join in the delay.

The discussions were revealed in this statement by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada:

“I understand my Republican colleagues are considering a postponement of the Roberts hearings until after Chief Justice Rehnquist’s funeral. I believe this is the right thing to do. The nation is already reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the Senate should focus its immediate attention on helping the victims of that tragedy. The death of Chief Justice Rehnquist presents an additional reason to adjust the schedule.
“Out of respect for the memory of Chief Justice Rehnquist and in fairness to those whose lives continue to be devasted by Katrina, the Senate should not commence a Supreme Court confirmation hearing this Tuesday. A brief postponement will not disadvantage anyone.”

President Bush, in a statement about the Chief’s death, included this comment on his plan: “There are now two vacancies on the Supreme Court, and it will serve the best interests of the nation to fill those vacancies promptly. I will choose in a timely manner a highly qualified nominee to succeed Chief Justice Rehnquist.”