[JURIST] With Democratic Senators divided on Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive], it appeared all but certain Wednesday that he would be confirmed as early as Thursday by a solidly bipartisan Senate vote. At least 76 senators - including 21 Democrats - have thusfar indicated they will support the 50-year-old Roberts, set to be the youngest chief justice on the Court since Chief Justice John Marshall [Oyez profile] took the center seat in 1801. At the same time, Democrats have warned President Bush that he should nominate a moderate to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [Wikipedia profile]. Bush is expected to make that nomination [JURIST report] soon after Roberts is confirmed. The full Senate [official website] is scheduled to continue its week-long debate on Roberts' confirmation at 9:30 AM ET Thursday. Watch a live webcast of the session. AP has more.