U.S. Senate committee hearings have begun for Judge Samuel Alito on his nomination
to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier Monday, President Bush called on U.S. senators to give Alito a "fair and dignified" hearing.
The president had breakfast with his nominee and appeared briefly with him in the White House Rose Garden.
The conservative nominee is expected to face tough questioning from members of the Senate Judiciary committee. Opposition Democrats, as well as some members of President Bush's own Republican party, plan to question Alito on his views about presidential powers granted under the U.S. Constitution.
The issue has gained attention since President Bush's recent admission he authorized U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor telephone calls and emails between people inside the United States and abroad without seeking permission from a special court.