John Roberts is virtually assured of confirmation as the nation's chief justice. The full Senate is to vote on his nomination by Thursday.
Democrat Charles Schumer of New York voted against Roberts in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last week. But Schumer says there's a good chance Roberts will be a good justice.
Attention is turning to President Bush's next nomination, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. That's the key swing vote on the court, and Schumer says the upcoming debate will be far more heated with far more scrutiny than the Roberts' nomination.
Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has said he thinks some of the committee voting by Democrats was calculated to affect the next nomination.
A spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy, who voted for Roberts, says it is a vote of conscience for Democrats, not a chess game.