- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2007

No litmus test

Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, a proponent of abortion rights, said yesterday he would not use a judicial nominee’s stand on the issue or the landmark Supreme Court decision as a litmus test.

On a campaign swing through conservative western Iowa, the former New York mayor pledged to appoint judges who would strictly interpret the Constitution on gun rights and other issues. Abortion never came up in his address to about 100 people at a high school in Council Bluffs, but it did during an exchange with reporters, the Associated Press reports.

“Abortion is not a litmus test. Roe v. Wade is not a litmus test. No particular case is a litmus test. That’s not the way to appoint Supreme Court justices or any judge,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Roe v. Wade is the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion. Mr. Giuliani favors abortion rights, though he has said he personally opposes the procedure, a stand that puts him at odds with his Republican rivals and most conservatives.

In talking to reporters, he said candidates for the federal judiciary would refuse to make up their mind ahead of time on future abortion rulings.

“Otherwise, why have legal arguments if you’re not going to give judges a chance to change their mind,” Mr. Giuliani said.

He noted that he got no questions on abortion in his appearance. “I think Roe against Wade is an issue. It is not the only issue,” he said.

McConnell’s stance

“If Republican senators abandon President Bush on Iraq in September, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell won’t be leading the stampede. Not that he had ever planned to. But McConnell had talked earlier about his expectation that Bush would adopt ‘a new direction’ in Iraq in September, one that might involve a pullback of American troops from combat,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“Now McConnell has grown a bit more optimistic about progress in Iraq. ‘The success in Anbar [province] has gotten around,’ he said. And this has affected those senators — chiefly Republicans — who are ‘swayed by what is actually happening’ on the ground in Iraq. ‘That’s a good sign.’

“McConnell now thinks Republicans will succeed in blocking all Democratic efforts this month to limit the role of American troops in Iraq. ‘I’m cautiously optimistic we’re going to make it through this particular exercise with no damaging vote succeeding.’ McConnell himself has emerged as a strong pro-Iraq voice,” Mr. Barnes wrote.

“At least until September, he told me, ‘the president and the military are going to have total latitude.’ It’s in September that Gen. David Petraeus will report to Washington about the success of the so-called ‘surge’ of American forces in Iraq. That’s ‘the critical moment,’ McConnell said.”

Richardson’s ad

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson aired a new ad in Iowa and New Hampshire yesterday, demanding that all U.S. troops come out of Iraq and calling on Congress “to stand up to this president.”

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