About one hour into the debate...
….the moderator finally raised the subjects everyone avoided until now.
Schieffer: All right. Let’s stop there and go to another
question. And this one goes to Sen. McCain. Sen. McCain, you believe
Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Sen. Obama, you believe it shouldn’t.
Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue? Sen. McCain?
McCain: I would never and have never in all the years I’ve been
there imposed a litmus test on any nominee to the court. That’s not
appropriate to do.
Schieffer: But you don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned?
McCain: I thought it was a bad decision. I think there were a lot of
decisions that were bad. I think that decisions should rest in the
hands of the states. I’m a federalist. And I believe strongly that we
should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their
qualifications rather than any litmus test.
Obama: Well, I think it’s true that we shouldn’t apply a strict
litmus test and the most important thing in any judge is their capacity
to provide fairness and justice to the American people.
And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most
consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that
one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one
appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance.
Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who
believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided….I will look for
those judges who have an outstanding judicial record, who have the
intellect, and who hopefully have a sense of what real-world folks are
First, judges apply the constitution, not their sense of what real-world folks are going through.
Second, either Obama wasn’t totally honest in this answer, or he has changed his mind.
Democrat Barack Obama has made unity a major theme of
his campaign, although his statement on Roe left little room for
“Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it’s
never been more important to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Obama
said. “Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold
the Federal [Partial-Birth] Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an
important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women’s
(Never mind the incoherence of that statement.)
With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be
looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose
for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked
to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in
That is a litmus test. The judicial philosophy behind it is the most important issue at stake in this election.
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