I think that this is more of a Spring question than Java in General.
I'm not sure what Spring is providing, but the JEE standard roles don't have "higher" and "lower" privileges. You either have a role or you don't, and if you have at least one of the roles permitted for the resource, you can access the resource, otherwise you cannot (logical "OR" relationship).
But I'll post this to the Spring forum where they can give you information more specific to Spring.
I'm going to be a "small government" candidate. I'll be the government. Just me. No one else.