Utah's Senators Hail Roberts Nomination

Utah's Senators Hail Roberts Nomination

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah's two U.S. senators Tuesday night hailed President Bush's nomination of federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"John Roberts is an outstanding pick," said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"He's the kind of judge that all of us want -- someone committed to applying the law impartially rather than legislating from the bench," Hatch said.

Hatch also called for the Senate to give Roberts a fair hearing.

"The Senate must fulfill its constitutional responsibility to treat the nominee fairly with a full debate on the merits," he said.

"I think it's a superb choice and I look forward to an orderly and appropriately solemn process. I expect that he will be confirmed," said Sen. Robert Bennett.

He didn't believe the confirmation process would be difficult.

"I can't speak for my Democratic colleagues," he said. "But I've spoken to a number of them who say they have no stomach for a filibuster or a spectacle."

House members do not vote on Roberts' nomination, but Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said Roberts was another choice by Bush -- along with Vice President Dick Cheney -- that didn't fit the conventional wisdom. Instead, he said Bush's main criteria in picking both was for their competence.

"I think it's kind of cool," Bishop said.

Rep. Jim Matheson, the only Democrat in Utah's delegation, said he looked forward "to observing a Senate confirmation process that I hope serves the interests of fairness, civility and bipartisanship in this historic process. This is a person who will be making decisions of great importance to Utahns."

Rep. Chris Cannon lauded Roberts' two years of service on the appeals court, but history has proven that is no indicator of how justices may vote after they are seated on the Supreme Court.

"We're just getting to know him and his views," Cannon said.

Bennett and Bishop both noted that Roberts has already received Senate confirmation for the federal appeals court.

"I would think given that history, plus his academic record plus his record of performing before the Supreme Court as an advocate, I would say he's going to get through," Bennett said.

Bishop said that earlier confirmation ties the hands of those who might oppose the nomination.

"It would be hard for them to say two years ago, they were wrong," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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