WASHINGTON – While most senators were given free reign to cross-examine top-court nominee John Roberts Jr., Sen. Arlen Specter took swift moves to halt some Democrats who weren't giving Roberts opportunity to answer their often long-winded questions.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., for instance, repeatedly pressed Roberts to answer questions on constiutional law that he said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had answered during her 1993 confirmation hearing.
Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Major Garrett.
While Roberts deflected many of Biden's questions, citing Ginsburg's willingness to discuss only cases she'd written about, not ones likely to come before the court, Biden pressed Roberts before cutting him off at the pass.
"Senator, I think nominees have to draw the line where they're comfortable," Roberts explained to Biden in declining to answer some questions.
Biden interrupted Roberts to object, and Specter tried to put a stop to it: "Senator Biden, let him finish."
"I don't have much time, but go ahead," Biden said to Roberts.
Roberts later refused to answer a question he said might compromise a future case, saying Ginsburg wouldn't commment. The two began cross-talking and Specter again jumped in.
"Wait, wait, wait a minute, Senator Biden. He's not finished his answer," the chairman said.
Biden responded: "He's filibustering, senator. But OK, go ahead."
Specter also sparred with Massachussetts Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy when Kennedy questioned Roberts over civil rights law.
"Let him finish his answer," Specter said. "Wait a minute. Senator Kennedy just propounded a very, very long question. Now let him answer the question."
The most dramatic moment occurred during an exchange between Biden, Roberts and Specter, although it might not have shed the best light on Roberts. Biden was quizzing Roberts on civil rights protections for female athletes under Title IX.
Roberts explained that he thought Title IX applies to the admissions office but before he finished, Biden interjected: "Only to the office, right? It applies narrowly?"
Specter asked Biden to let Roberts finish, which led Biden to say Roberts was giving misleading answers.
After a quick exchange, Specter said: "Now, wait a minute, wait a minute. They may be misleading, but they are his answers."
Specter later told reporters that he respects Biden and Kennedy, but felt he had to draw the line somewhere.