McCain, Obama Exhibit Wide Divide on Abortion, Supreme Court Judges

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

McCain, Obama Exhibit Wide Divide on Abortion, Supreme Court Judges

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — During the final presidential debate, the issue of abortion finally received its day and presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama exhibited a wide divide on abortion as it relates to the Supreme Court.

Obama made it clear he supports the case that allowed unlimited abortions while McCain said he wants judges who won’t legislate from the bench.

While Obama has previously indicated he has a pro-abortion litmus test, McCain said that’s not a way to nominate a Supreme Court justice.

“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,” he said. “And I believe strongly that we should have nominees to the United States Supreme Court based on their qualifications.”

“I will find the best people in the world — in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench,” McCain said.

Asked in a follow-up, he said he didn’t think supporting unlimited abortion is part of the qualifications for a position on the Supreme Court.

“I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications,” he said.

McCain also repeated his position that he thinks Roe v. Wade, which allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason, should be overturned.

“I thought it was a bad decision,” McCain said. “I think that decisions should rest in the hands of the states. I’m a federalist.”

McCain also went after Obama for voting against two judges who the pro-life movement believes will allow states to, once again, offer legal protection for women and unborn children.

“Sen. Obama voted against Justice [Alito] and Justice Roberts on the grounds that they didn’t meet his ideological standards. That’s not the way we should judge these nominees. Elections have consequences. They should be judged on their qualifications. And so that’s what I will do,” he said.

Obama claimed he wouldn’t have a pro-abortion litmus test for the high court– “I think it’s true that we shouldn’t apply a strict litmus test” but he has said in the past that he thinks any Supreme Court nominee should support the Roe decision.

He admitted that “Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance” because the next president will appoint one or more Supreme Court judges.

“I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided,” Obama added.

Obama repeated his position in favor of unlimited abortions and that he believes there is a right to privacy in the Constitution that allows for all abortions throughout pregnancy.

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