October 16, 2008

McCain's judicial bafflegab

So John McCain claims he would not apply any "litmus test" to a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Traditionally, what "litmus test" in this context has signified is support for the holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that, among other things, largely removed the regulation of abortion from the purview of the several States.

"I'm a federalist," McCain told us last night, which means he favors a scheme whereby certain medical procedures are available in one State and forbidden by the next. And maybe available but subject to onerous restrictions in yet others. Nobody knows, or can know.

In order for patients to navigate this scheme, it's not clear whether McCain's health plan pays travel expenses. But it is certain that when it comes to women's health specifically, women are entitled to a special, derisive — even sneering — "air quotes" edition.

John McCain is opposed to evaluating the résumés of prospective judges according to their ideology, he says.

He criticized Barack Obama for voting against the last two Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito — although McCain said Breyer, who was appointed in 1994 — because "they didn't meet [Obama's] ideological standards."

Except John McCain has ideological standards too. It's just that he calls them qualifications. And among those qualifications, McCain informs us, is support for Roe v. Wade.

And any prospective Justice of the Supreme Court who has expressed support for Roe v. Wade is disqualified, according to McCain.

But no, Senator McCain doesn't have any litmus test.

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