President Bush’s selection of US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has reached a seemingly receptive audience.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts found an audience of seemingly receptive U.S. senators on Wednesday when he opened his campaign for prompt bipartisan confirmation to the nation’s high court.

Democrats had been braced for a divisive battle over President Bush’s nomination, fearing that he might pick a right-wing extremist.

But Bush’s selection of Roberts, hailed by backers as a mainstream conservative, drew tempered remarks from Democrats though they vowed to study his record and grill him on a host of issues at his Senate confirmation hearing, including his views on the hot-button issue of abortion.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who had urged Bush to select a nominee who can unite the nation rather than divide it, said, “It remains to be seen whether John Roberts fits that description.”

“I hope that he does, and I look forward to giving him the opportunity to make his case to the American people,” said Reid, among those whom Roberts arranged to see during his first day of visits to the Senate. He is to meet with more senators on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, greeted Roberts on Capitol Hill, hailing him as “the best of the best” among legal minds in America.

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