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Leahy’s ‘Conscience’:

Before he voted to recommend confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, explained he was voting his ?¢â??¬???conscience?¢â??¬  on the matter. This evidently means he believed that?¢â??¬ ¦quot;while positioning himself to oppose President Bush?¢â??¬â??¢s next Supreme Court nominee?¢â??¬ ¦quot;he could plausibly argue to implacable left-wing interest groups that Roberts would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

?¢â??¬???Judge Roberts testified that he now recognizes that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are established precedents of the Supreme Court entitled to respect,?¢â??¬  said Leahy. ?¢â??¬???He testified that he interprets the liberty protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment as the constitutional bedrock of the right to privacy, which is both substantive and procedural. Here, too, within the overly strict confines of his own self-imposed constraints on his answers, he consciously created the impression that he will not be a judicial activist on this essential point. He left me with the understanding that he would not seek to overrule or undercut the right of a woman to choose. I trust that he is a person of honor and integrity and that he will act accordingly.?¢â??¬ 

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