2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 14, 2005
to questions about
WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme
Court nominee John Roberts jousted
with Democratic senators yesterday at
his confirmation hearing to be chief jus-
tice, dodging their attempts to pin down
his opinions on abortion, voting rights
and other legal issues.
Roberts said he felt the landmark 1973
ruling legalizing abortion was "settled
as a precedent" and that the Constitution
provides a right to privacy. Questioned by
the lone woman on the panel, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.), Roberts referred to
the "settled expectations" of society three
decades after the abortion decision.
But when senators pressed for details
on his opinions - even to the point of
interrupting his answers - Roberts
said repeatedly that he shouldn't address
some issues that could come before the
Supreme Court with him as chief justice.
At one point, Sen. Joe Biden, (D-
Del.), who has indicated he may run for
president in 2008, accused Roberts of
"Go ahead and continue not to answer,"
said Biden. Later, he interrupted Rob-
erts and when criticized, insisted, "His
answers are misleading, with all due
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! They
may be misleading but they are his
answers," said Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-
Pa.), the Judiciary Committee chairman.
Roberts - who had noted that Biden
earlier would have heard an entire
answer if he hadn't interrupted - kept
"With respect, they are my answers
and with respect, they are not mislead-
ing," he said.
Senators questioned President Bush's
choice to succeed the late William
Rehnquist on abortion, privacy, voting
rights and the balance of power between
the branches of government. Roberts
frequently answered through the prism
of legal precedent but declined to
The heart of the abortion ruling is
"settled as a precedent of the court, enti-
tled to respect under principles of stare
decisis," the concept that long-estab-
lished rulings should be given extra
weight, Roberts said.
Still, review and revisions have been
the hallmark of the high court on issues
from integration to gay rights, and Rob-
erts indicated that groundlbreaking cases
can draw a second look.
"If particular precedents have proven
to be unworkable, they don't lead to
predictable results, they're, difficult to
apply, that's one 'factor supporting
reconsideration," Roberts said.
If confirmed, the 50-year-old Rob-
erts would be the youngest chief jus-
tice in 200 years, with the power to
shape the high court for decades.
Democrats and Republicans see no
major obstacles to his winning Senate
approval and joining the other justices
when the new term begins Oct. 3.
In his answers on abortion, Roberts
focused on a 1992 Supreme Court rul-
ing in Casey v. Planned Parenthood,
City airport reopens commercial flights
The New Orleans airport reopened to commercial flights yesterday for
the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck more than two weeks ago, and
the port was back in operation, too, as a battered New Orleans struggled to
get up and running again.
The slow signs of recovery came amid promises from the White House
and FEMA to learn from their mistakes and intensify their efforts to help
Northwest Airlines Flight 947 from Memphis, Tenn., landed around
midday with about 30 people aboard, far fewer than the jet could hold.
Those aboard included emergency workers from the Federal Emergency
Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some carried only a few belongings in plastic bags and gym bags.
Among those returning to New Orleans was Steven Kischner, who said
the mood aboard the plane was "eerie."
Six-nation talks on nudear program resume
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Chief Justice nominee John Roberts gestures while testifying on Capitol Hill yes-
terday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
referring to that as a precedent-setting
case in addition to the 1973 Roe v.
In the Pennsylvania case, the Supreme
Court voted 5-4 to uphold the core hold-
ings of Roe v. Wade and ban states from
outlawing most abortions. The court
said states could impose restrictions
on the procedure that do not impose an
"undue burden" on women.
"It reaffirmed the central holding in
Roe v. Wade," Roberts said.
Bush originally nominated Roberts to
succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the
court's crucial swing vote who announced
her plans to retire in July. Within days of
Rehnquist's death on Sept. 3, Bush tapped
Roberts to be chief justice.
RAFAH, Egypt (AP) - Egyptian troops
allowed elated Palestinians to flood across the
border from Gaza for a second day yesterday,
heightening Israeli concerns that the crossing
will become more porous and allow weapons to
make their way to militants.
Palestinian and Egyptian commanders decid-
ed to close the Gaza-Egypt border by evening
today, said Jamal Kaed, the Palestinian security
commander of southern Gaza.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in a
televised speech later yesterday that he would
take immediate steps to impose order in chaotic
Security forces have failed to prevent scaveng-
ing and looting of abandoned Israeli settlements,
including key greenhouses that were bought for
the Palestinians by Jewish donors for $14 mil-
"We have one law for everyone and no one is
above the law. We are not going to tolerate chaos
after today," Abbas said, although he did not say
how his security forces would improve their per-
formance. As Abbas spoke, hundreds of Hamas
gunmen paraded through the streets of the near-
border opens for business
by Jebaliya refugee camp.
Gazans have gone on a shopping spree in
Egyptian towns since the Israeli withdrawal,
hauling home suitcases and boxes full of cheap
cigarettes, food, fish and other goods.
Others searched out relatives they haven't seen
for years in Rafah, which is divided in two by
the border. Some Gazans went as far as el-Arish,
24 miles west of Rafah, and were seen dining at
seaside restaurants in the Mediterranean town.
Israeli forces withdrew from the border early
Monday, ending their 38-year occupation of the
Under a deal with Israel, Egypt deployed hun-
dreds of troops to guard the border and prevent
smuggling into Gaza.
Thousands of Palestinians clambered over the
walls along the border Monday and continued to
move back and forth freely yesterday.
Egyptian forces said they were temporarily
opening the frontier to allow the Palestinians to
celebrate and reunite with relatives.
Kaed said Palestinian security forces will start
preparations to close the crossing by evening
today, setting up roadblocks near the border to
prevent cars from reaching the area. A Palestin-
ian bulldozer tried to fill a gap in the high wall
that Gazans had been slipping through.
Closing off all the side routes that Palestin-
ians have found in the past two days may prove
Gazans and Egyptians went back and forth
without records, making it ever harder to sort out
who belongs on what side of the border.
Zalman Shoval, a foreign policy adviser to
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Egypt's
failure to stop the border crossings was a cause
"One would like to hope that what happened
there was just a one-time failure by the Egyptian
troops to do what is expected of them.
But if this continues Israel will have to ask the
multinational force (in the Sinai) to be a great
deal more active in supervising the Egyptian
compliance in the commitment it made with
Israel," he said.
"The great danger is that both people and arms
could be smuggled under the unwatchful eyes of
the Egyptians - that was the whole purpose of
coming to this agreement," Shoval said.
The United States and North Korea were at odds over the communist nations
demands for peaceful atomic power, as officials gathered in Beijing yesterday for
talks on ending the North's nuclear weapons program.
Participants in the six-nation talks are working on a statement of principles lay-
ing the groundwork for stopping the North's nuclear programs. The latest round
of talks broke for a recess early last month after a record 13 days of talks failed to
yield an agreement.
But sticking point has emerged over the North's demands for a civilian nuclear
program - something Washington has strongly resisted, saying the communist
state's past record proves it can't be trusted with any nuclear program.
Yesterday the head of North Korea's delegation said his country won't tolerate
any obstructions to its right to a peaceful nuclear program, China's official Xinhua
News Agency reported.
Militant with ties to al-Qaida captured
U.S. forces along the Euphrates River attacked the insurgent stronghold of
Haditha early yesterday, capturing a militant with ties to al-Qaida in Iraq and kill-
ing four others, the military said.
The assault on Haditha followed a recent offensive to retake Tal Afar, another
northern town, which U.S. commanders said netted more than 400 suspected mili-
tants. The Iraqi military said its troops had detained 36 others, including a Yemeni
citizen, just south of Tal Afar.
In southern Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of Iraqi security
guards and foreign contwract workers outside Basra, killing four people, police
said. While one Iraqi official said the four dead were Americans, U.S. officials
were unable to confirm the report.
Envoys try to reach agreement on U.N reform
With the U.N. summit a day away, negotiators tried to agree yesterday on a
watered-down plan for reforming the United Nations, having abandoned many of
the sweeping changes recommended by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
More than 160 presidents, prime ministers, kings and their entourages
are descending on New York for today's summit opening. But it appeared
less likely that the 191 U.N. member states would reach consensus on a
document enabling the world body to tackle the major global issues of the
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story in Wednesday's edition of the Daily should have said that Ben Royal is
an organizer for BAMN, not a campus advisor.
A story in Monday's edition of the Daily should have said that Salman Rushdie
received the Booker Prize in 1993, not 2003.
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