Separately, the Supreme Court nominee waved off questions about whether he was a member of a conservative legal organization. Roberts, on his fourth day paying courtesy calls on senators, hasn’t answered questions since President Bush announced him — as is typical for nominees — and one Democratic senator said the matter wouldn’t affect the confirmation.

With Bush’s first chance to shape the Supreme Court at stake, the White House is hoping to avoid the kind of showdown with Democrats over document requests that has stymied Senate confirmation of some of the president’s other high-profile nominees. Asked repeatedly to say whether the administration was open to making Roberts’ writings as a former administration lawyer available, White House press secretary Scott McClellan avoided saying “no” outright.