President Bush has called on U.S. senators to give Judge Samuel Alito a "fair and dignified" hearing as they begin considering Alito's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The president had breakfast with Alito before his confirmation hearings Monday and appeared briefly with him in the White House Rose Garden.
The conservative nominee is expected to face tough question from members of the Senate Judiciary committee who vote to confirm Supreme Court nominations.
Opposition Democrats, as well as some members of President Bush's own Republican party, plan to question Judge Alito on his views about presidential powers granted under the U.S. constitution.
The issue has gained attention following President Bush's recent admission he authorized intelligence agencies to conduct domestic spying without seeking permission from a special court.
Other key issues include abortion, civil rights and the environment.