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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Democrats Question Roberts

WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts repeatedly refused to answer questions about abortion and other contentious issues at his confirmation hearing, telling Democrats he would not discuss matters that could come before the Supreme Court.

Appearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said past Supreme Court rulings carried weight, including the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973. But he balanced that by saying the same principle also allowed for overturning rulings.

Over and over, he assured lawmakers he would be guided by his understanding of the facts of cases, the law and the Constitution, not by his personal views.

"My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role," added Roberts, who is Catholic. "I will be my own man," he said in a daylong session that Republicans said had firmly established his prospects for swift confirmation.

Roberts said his refusal to answer questions was based on a "no hints, no forecasts, no previews" precedent that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg set at her hearings. "That is not true, judge," interrupted Senator Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat, telling Roberts that Ginsburg had been more forthcoming, particularly about abortion.