Patterico's Pontifications


If I Thought He Understood What He Was Saying, This Answer Might Just Earn My Vote

Filed under: 2008 Election,Abortion — Patterico @ 8:16 pm

In last night’s debate of Democrat presidential contenders, the candidates were offered the chance to bash the Supreme Court’s partial-birth abortion decision — and each candidate duly did so. From the transcript, here was the very next question asked, together with Gov. Richardson’s answer:

MODERATOR BRIAN WILLIAMS: We’d like to ask the same question of all of you, down the line, in order, and it calls for you to say a name or to pass. And Governor Richardson, we’re going to start with you. The question is, your model Supreme Court justice.

GOV. RICHARDSON: It would be Justice Whizzer White.

MR. WILLIAMS: How about someone who is among the living? (Laughter.)

GOV. RICHARDSON: It would be — and in this particular case, Judge Ginsburg, who said that this was an erosion of a woman’s right to choose and degraded the ability of a woman to protect herself health-wise.

Who volunteers to tell Gov. Richardson how Justice White voted in Roe v. Wade?

(H/t: JCG.)

UPDATE: Matthew J. Franck has much more.

20 Responses to “If I Thought He Understood What He Was Saying, This Answer Might Just Earn My Vote”

  1. That one’s confused a few people.

    AF (d700ef)

  2. Considering how unpopular this particular sort of abortion is (and not just in the US or with the Bible belt)… it really depresses me that a guy often considered a moderate Democrat still feels obligated to bash the ban.

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  3. I don’t know why Brian Williams said that the candidates were supposed to select from living justices only. There are only 10 living Supreme Court justices (including O’Connor) and only 2 of them were Democratic appointees. It would be in MSNBC’s interest to have the candidates give interesting and/or varied answers, not just select between Ginsburg and Breyer. Did Williams expect any of the Democrats to suggest Souter or Roberts?

    Joshua (ca2e9c)

  4. Byron “Wizzer” White led the NFL in rushing in 1938. With that kind of credentials, who else was Richardson supposed to pick?

    Lew Clark (626ae5)

  5. Don’t know why we wouldn’t expect the Democrats to admire David Souter or John Paul Stevens.

    Dana (556f76)

  6. So what do Byron White and Ruth Ginzburg share that puts them as the top two model Supreme Court Justices for Richardson? Puzzling. Clearly, it’s not football or Roe v. Wade.

    But it wasn’t the only puzzling answer to a follow up question from Brian Williams on Thursday night. See Obama’s answer to the “three most important allies” question and its follow-up.

    Patterico: Why might Richardson earn your vote if he understood what he was saying?

    (BTW, you can take it that I’m not an attorney.)

    Curtiss (c03bd7)

  7. How Justice White voted in Roe is merely the tip of the iceberg. His scathing dissent would be anathema to modern Democrats:

    I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes … As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court. … I can in no event join the Court’s judgment because I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States.

    Ah, for the days when the rule of law, not of men, was valued by Democrat and Republican alike.

    Voice of Reason (4ffc3d)

  8. “I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States.”

    Well, that could be said for dozens of rulings over the last thirty some odd years.

    Laws made that have altered the American landscape and the American Dream.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas

    Papa Ray (035e8c)

  9. I’m pretty sure White voted “Hell, no!”

    At least he didn’t say Souter.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  10. He not only dissented, he kept referring to the plaintiff as the “putative mother”.

    nk (db0112)

  11. Justice White is well-known to people from my generation (like Bill Richardson) who grew up in Colorado or nearby New Mexico and North Texas. White was a person who excelled in many areas of life and also seemed to be a good and decent person. Perhaps Bill Richardson’s admiration came from an appreciation of Justice White’s judicial opinions but I think it was probably based on an appreciation of the man himself.

    DRJ (41a330)

  12. As long as the “conservatives” are seriously considering a candidate with the same views, the DNC is totally safe with supporting this reprehensible practice.

    Ray G (50194a)

  13. Patterico,

    So Richardson can’t like White overall while disagreeing with a particular position he took? Is that the sort of thing you’re arguing here?

    Grotius (542623)

  14. Let’s just say I’d be interested to hear from Richardson which of White’s positions he liked. His rulings on criminal cases? His stance in Bowers? His dissent in Roe? What, exactly — other than the fact that he played football — made him Richardson’s favorite justice?

    Patterico (5b0b7f)

  15. For a variety of reasons, Richardson is my favorite Democratic candidate, and I wish he was getting more traction than he is.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  16. Have faith, aphrael. May not get the nomination, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t at least get picked as the Democratic VP candidate.


    You grew up in the Southwest?

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  17. VP? Bah. I’d much rather have him as Secretary of State than VP. The VP doesn’t really do very much, and while it would make him the frontrunner in 2012 (if the democrats lose now) or 2016 (if they don’t), he’d be 69 in 2016, which is just too old.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  18. I dunno… I know a lot of people who would take issue with the statement that 69 is too old to run a country (anyone who thinks Reagan was competent, for instance… though I count myself not of their number). Richardson would be a good president, and being VP in a successful administration is as good a way to obtain said position as any.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  19. […] different approach to how they would solve things.” Yeah. Richardson would take back his Whizzer White endorsement. Edwards would take back his fashion critique of Hillary. Obama recycles […]

    Michelle Malkin » Saturday night jive: The New Hampshire debates; Round Two - Dem candidates; Update: Hillary turns Shrill-ary; Edwards: “Forces of status quo”= Hillary; Unlikeable? Hillary’s feelings are hurt (41113f)

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