Henry on the Hearings: A Late Start but a Good Finish

Henry the intern blogs the John Roberts confirmation hearing. Updated throughout the day. Earlier posts after the jump.


UPDATE 4:53PM

3:50 -- Roberts to Feinstein: "I have always supported, and support today, equal rights for women." Feinstein: "You speak about modesty and humility and yet none of [these memos] were modest or humble."

3:54 -- Feinstein grills Roberts on his view of Roe v. Wade and women's rights.

4:06 -- Onward to the "hapless toad" case, specifically in terms of environmental regulations.

4:11 -- Feinstein asks if Roberts believes that the separation of church and state should be absolute? Roberts: "I don't know what that means when you say absolute separation."

4:14 -- On end of life decisions, Roberts says, "It's a free country and the right to be left alone is one of our basic rights."

4:18 -- Sessions steps up to the plate: "You have validated the president's confidence in you."

4:34 -- Sessions drags on, attempts humor to compensate for killing time before unrelated Senate vote. Keyword: attempts.

4:38 -- Writer of Fox News lower-thirds falls asleep; graphics rotate evergreen facts about the rules of the Judiciary Committee and information about Roberts.

4:49 -- Sessions definitely knows how to filibuster.

4:50 -- 7.5 hours of hearings today over and out.

12:23 -- Biden: "I want to figure out how you infer." Five minutes later, Fox News lower-third reads, "Biden: I want to figure out how you infer."

12:25 -- Biden asks about balls and strikes. Can we get some congressional interns to brainstorm some new metaphors please?

12:29 -- Biden gets testy with Roberts. Blue tie versus red tie.

12:31 -- Biden is seriously basking in the glow of wall-to-wall cable coverage.

12:33 -- Biden to Roberts: "Oh, judge judge judge." Biden to Hatch: "He's filibustering, senator!"

12:37 -- Roberts says there are women in his family and he would not want them to be discriminated against because of their gender.

2:14 -- Chris Wallace on the promptness of the hearings: "When they say they are going to start at 9:30, they start at 9:30:00."

2:19 -- Kyl contemplates the meanings of "progress" and "freedom," concludes "there are no absolutes."

2:30 -- Kyl asks Roberts to explain the difference between upholding the constitutionality of a law versus determining a law unconstitutional. Roberts replies, "You can't give a categorical determination" of statutes.

2:33 -- Fox News lower-thirds: "Roberts: People need to know judges won't take sides in disputes". . . "Roberts: People need to know Supreme Court is level playing field." C'mon team, enough with the baseball.

2:36 -- Roberts, in response to Kyl, says he has concerns about relying on foreign legal precedents: "A misuse of precedent, not a correct use of precedent."

2:40 -- Kyl throws softball --and the metaphor spreads-- about Roberts' pro-bono work for a death row inmate. "I was happy to pitch in and help in that area," Roberts says.

2:47 -- Kohl dismisses baseball speak: "When we look at real [constitutional issues], I wonder whether or not your analogy works."

2:56 -- Kohl asks about the Supreme Court's obligations to hurricane victims. Roberts: "The courts are, of course, passive institutions. . . Our obligation is to decide the cases that are presented." He expects Katrina-related cases.

2:58 -- Roberts says his document trail reflects the views of his superiors and he is ready to "address each of those issues anew." Kohl presses him to specify which cases and Roberts evades.

3:02 -- Roberts supprots the right to privacy for contraception. Fox News lower-third reads, "Roberts: Reasonable people can disagree on Roe v. Wade."

3:04 -- Roberts will not comment on O'Connor's replacement "other than to say I am happy with his past ones." Kohl: "You're not an automaton."

3:07 -- Roberts says he does not support term limits anymore.

3:08 -- Kohl inquires about access to attorneys. Roberts: "I do think the availability of legal services is not as board and widespread as it should be" and promotes pro-bono work. "People need to be a little more creative in the ways in which they can help," he says.

3:17 -- DeWine: "The good news is I represent the half-way point. The bad news is, [we're] on the first round."

3:29 -- DeWine goes on tangent about shopping malls: "I think there is a shrinking public square." Roberts looks bored and nods his head.

3:31 -- DeWine talks about porn for a few minutes, asks about what can be done about the "disturbing trend" of Internet pornography. Fox News lower-third reads, "Roberts: Porn expression is not protected as political speech." Roberts is then asked what his "porn expression" is.

3:50 -- Roberts to Feinstein: "I have always supported, and support today, equal rights for women." Feinstein: "You speak about modesty and humility and yet none of [these memos] were modest or humble."

3:54 -- Feinstein grills Roberts on his view of Roe v. Wade and women's rights.

4:06 -- Onward to the "hapless toad" case, specifically in terms of environmental regulations.

4:11 -- Feinstein asks if Roberts believes that the separation of church and state should be absolute? Roberts: "I don't know what that means when you say absolute separation."

4:14 -- On end of life decisions, Roberts says, "It's a free country and the right to be left alone is one of our basic rights."

4:18 -- Sessions steps up to the plate: "You have validated the president's confidence in you."

4:34 -- Sessions drags on, attempts humor to compensate for killing time before unrelated Senate vote. Keyword: attempts.

4:38 -- Writer of Fox News lower-thirds falls asleep; graphics rotate evergreen facts about the rules of the Judiciary Committee and information about Roberts.

4:49 -- Sessions definitely knows how to filibuster.

4:50 -- 7.5 hours of hearings today over and out.

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