Senator Edward M. Kennedy questioned John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice Nominee, on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act — Sept. 13, 2005

"One question we must consider today is how we can take action to unify our Nation, heal racial division, end poverty, and give real-life meaning to the constitutional mandate that there be equal protection under law. I believe that the Constitution is not hostile to the idea that national problems can be solved at the national level through the cooperative efforts of the three coequal branches of government, the Congress, the Executive, and the Courts, but not every President, not every legislator, and not every judge agrees that the Federal Government has the power to address and to try to remedy the twin national problems of poverty and access to equal opportunity. I am not talking about a handout, but a hand up, to give all our citizens a fair shot at the American dream." -Senator Edward M. Kennedy.