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ELECTION 08: Democratic candidates pledge to nominate only justices who support Roe


ELECTION 08: Democratic candidates pledge to nominate justices who support Roe
By Michael Foust

LAS VEGAS (BP)–U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates pledged Nov. 15 that if elected they would only nominate justices to the Supreme Court who support the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The candidates were asked during a debate in Las Vegas if they “would require” their “nominees to support abortion rights.”

“[T]hey’d have to share my view about privacy, and I think that goes hand in hand,” Clinton said. “Privacy, in my opinion, is embedded in our Constitution.”

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer then asked, “So the answer is yes?”

Clinton responded, “Yes, the answer is yes.”


U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said he “would not appoint somebody who doesn’t believe in the right to privacy.” Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards went a step further and said, “I would insist that they recognize the right to privacy and recognize Roe v. Wade as settled law.”

Roe v. Wade helped spark the modern-day social conservative movement. If it was overturned, the issue of abortion would be left up to each state; some likely would ban abortion, while others would keep it legal. Of the nine justices, it is believed no more than four support overturning Roe. Only two are on record as stating their opposition.

“I would not want a justice to be appointed who would even think about overturning that,” U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd said to applause.

Said U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, “I would not appoint anyone who did not understand that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and the Liberty Clause of the 14th Amendment provided a right to privacy. That’s the question I’d ask them. If that is answered correctly, that that is the case, then it answers the question, which means they would support Roe v. Wade.”

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who less than five years ago was pro-life, told the audience he would make it a “litmus test” to appoint only justices who supported Roe.

HUCKABEE COMPARES ABORTION TO SLAVERY — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee continued Nov. 18 his criticism of those who want to leave abortion up to the states. Huckabee made the comments on “Fox News Sunday.”

“If morality is the point here, and if it’s right or wrong — not just a political question — then you can’t have 50 different versions of what’s right and what’s wrong,” Huckabee said. “Again, that’s what the whole Civil War was about. Can you have states saying slavery is OK [and] other states saying it’s not? If abortion is a moral issue — for many of us it is, and I know for others it’s not.

“So if you decide that it’s just a political issue, then that’s a perfectly acceptable, logical conclusion. But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can’t simply have 50 different versions of what’s right.”

GIULIANI ADDRESSES FEDERALIST SOCIETY –- GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani spoke to the Federalist Society Nov. 16, making the case to its members as to why the conservative legal organization should trust him. His support for abortion rights has led many social conservatives to support other candidates.

If a Democrat wins the White House, he or she will nominate judges “who will be activists in the sense of trying to legislate their social policy through judicial interpretation,” Giuliani said, according to a transcript.

The former New York City mayor said he believes “judges exist to interpret the law, not to invent the law.”

“We need judges who embrace originalism, endeavor to determine what others meant when they wrote the words of our Constitution. Justices like Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts. That would be my model,” he said.

He began the speech by telling the influential organization, “It’s an honor to speak to a group of people who share my viewpoint.”

Giuliani is walking a tightrope on the issue, especially since he is on record as supporting Roe v. Wade – a decision derided by conservatives.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.