Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he should have about 30 minutes today, based on his seniority, to pose questions to President Bush’s nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court. Grassley, a Republican, says he’d like to ask John Roberts about several issues he thinks are important. Grassley wants to hear Roberts’ take on the proper role of a judge in our society, the value of precedent in our legal system, the issue of judicial restraint or a judge’s responsibility of interpreting law and not legislating from the bench. Grassley says he was encouraged to hear Roberts’ opening statement at the hearings Monday, saying he has no agenda. Grassley says Roberts’ role is to be that of an umpire, “and umpires don’t call strikes or balls before the ball is pitched. He doesn’t know what the case is coming before the court that the court’s going to have pitched to it, so he looks at the facts, and the law involving the case…and he’s going to make very much an independent judgment.” Grassley says he looks forward to hearing Roberts’ take on several other issues. Grassley particularly wants to know Roberts’ views on cameras in the courtroom, as Grassley authored a bill to bring more of a public view to the court, something the late Justice William Rehnquist opposed. Roberts faces a tough round of questions today from the Senate Judiciary Committee, on issues including abortion, presidential power and the Constitution.
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