The U.S. Senate has begun a second day of confirmation hearings for Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Arlen Specter, immediately asked Judge Roberts several questions about "Roe versus Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Mr. Roberts said he would not discuss his view on specific cases. But he said that overruling an important precedent would "deliver a jolt" to the legal system. He said the court needs to consider all the possible effects of making such a move. Questions about abortion were expected at the hearing.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Roberts wrote a legal brief saying Roe versus Wade was "wrongfully decided and should be overruled."
Republicans have said the brief simply reflected the legal views of the presidential administrations he was working for, and that Mr. Roberts has since referred to the right to abortion as "settled law."
If confirmed, the 50-year-old Judge Roberts would replace the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.