Arlen Specter, chairman (Pennsylvania) Elected: 1980 Years on
Attorney and former prosecutor. Independent-minded. Voted against
Reagan nominee Robert Bork, alienating conservatives. Grilled Anita
Hill during Clarence Thomas hearings, inflaming liberals. Is likely
to ask Roberts about "judicial activism" of Rehnquist Court,
including decisions to strike down parts of the Violence Against
Women Act, which he helped draft. Keeps tight control of the clock.
Quote: "Who are they [judges] to say their method of reasoning is
better than ours [Congress's]?"
Orrin Hatch (Utah) Elected: 1976 Years on Judiciary: 28
An attorney. Aims to protect nominees from partisan attack. Will
note that nominees should not be prejudging cases or answering
questions that might reveal a predisposition to rule a certain way.
Maintains cordial relations with Democrats, including liberal icon
Quote: "I've talked extensively with Judge Roberts, and I
couldn't be more impressed."
Mike DeWine (Ohio) Elected: 1994 Years on Judiciary: 10
An attorney. Is one of seven Republican senators to oppose the
Senate GOP leadership's plan to outlaw filibusters of judicial
nominations. Has drawn opposition from conservatives at home for his
willingness to work with Democrats. Is up for reelection in 2006.
Quote: "Roberts is a pro at the highest level. He's had 30 cases
before the US Supreme Court, and he knows how to handle himself."
Jeff Sessions (Alabama) Elected: 1996 Years on Judiciary: 8
An attorney and prosecutor. Was rejected by the Judiciary
Committee for a federal judgeship in 1985. Often uses question
periods to counter arguments from the other side of the aisle and to
give the nominee a chance to clarify the record.
Quote: "Nominees have often been abused in these hearings and
their records misstated. Every nominee should have a fair chance to
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) Elected: 2002 Years on Judiciary:
Was an Air Force prosecutor and is currently a reserve judge on
the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. Played high-profile role in
the Clinton impeachment trial. Pushed for investigations of abuses
at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Is expected to question Roberts about
torture, presidential power, military tribunals, and treatment of
enemy combatants. Is a member, along with Senator DeWine, of the so-
called Gang of 14, which aimed to avert the need for a change in
Senate filibuster rules. Helps make complex legal issues
Quote: "I want to ask questions average people most want to ask.
I'm not here to play gotcha, and my role is not to play
John Cornyn (Texas) Elected: 2002 Years on Judiciary: 2
An attorney and former judge on the Texas Supreme Court. Is only
panel member with experience on an appeals court. Has evolved into
one-man rapid-response operation, rebutting attacks on Bush's
Quote: "What we need is a fair hearing for a good man and an up-
or-down vote by the end of September."
Sam Brownback (Kansas) Elected: 1996 Years on Judiciary: 4
An attorney. Is an eloquent critic of abortion rights, genetic
testing, pornography, and slavery in places like the Sudan. Social
conservatives hope he'll ask tough questions on abortion rights. Is
a potential presidential candidate in 2008.
Quote: "I am predisposed to support Judge Roberts, but because he
has had limited time on the bench, I want to dig a little bit deeper
and ask questions about his overall judicial philosophy."
Patrick Leahy (Vermont) Elected: 1974 Years on Judiciary: 26
An attorney and former prosecutor. Worked with White House on USA
Patriot Act, but led filibusters against Bush's appeals court
nominees. Is expected to insist upon the need to release documents
that cover Roberts's years as deputy solicitor general in first Bush