WASHINGTON -- Senators examining the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court expressed concerns yesterday about the nominee's respect for judicial precedent and his views on a legal theory known as natural law.

But legal scholars said the high court already has moved away from a strict adherence to its precedents, opening the door for state and local governments to recover some power lost to the federal government in previous cases.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.