The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to send the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be chief justice of the United States on to the full Senate for a decision.
The 18-member Republican-led committee voted 13 to 5 to move the nomination forward.
Democrats were divided on the nomination, but the top Democrat on the committee was among those who voted in favor of the nomination.
Some who opposed the nomination say they were not clear or were concerned about Judge Roberts' position on a number of important issues.
President Bush in July initially nominated Judge Roberts to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but then named him to replace William Rehnquist after the chief justice died in September.
Mr. Bush has not yet named a nominee to fill Justice O'Connor's vacancy.