Cheney Plugs Roberts Nom in NYC

Vice President Dick Cheney (search) urged the U.S. Senate on Monday to put partisan politicking aside as it considers whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee John Roberts (search).

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser on Staten Island, Cheney praised Roberts, a federal appeals court judge, as one of the country's "most distinguished and talented lawyers."

"In the weeks ahead, America deserves and Judge Roberts deserves a process that is honest and nonpartisan," Cheney said. "The Senate has a duty to give this nominee fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair up or down vote."

Cheney said he was sure U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (search), D-N.Y., understood that. Schumer holds a position on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Cheney delivered a brief speech to about 800 people at a $200-per-plate fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

The event, in a ballroom at the Excelsior Grand Hotel, raised about $250,000 for Fossella, his spokesman Craig Donner said. Fossella is facing re-election in 2006.

Fossella introduced Cheney by saying, "Welcome to Staten Island's undisclosed location."

Democrats have not mounted a campaign to halt Roberts' nomination, but some have warned his nomination could prove rough if he refuses to answer questions about his views on key issues such as abortion (search).

Some also have called on the White House to release documents related to legal work Roberts did for previous Republican administrations. The Bush administration has suggested that those documents should be shielded by attorney-client privilege.

Schumer said the goal is to learn about Roberts' judicial philosophy and legal reasoning.

"This is not a game of gotcha," Schumer said. "Document requests ... are a means to simply determining Justice Roberts' judicial views."