Rudy Giuliani is playing the role of a contortionist in his attempts to convince enough pro-life voters to support his presidential candidacy.
After an unblemished record as a pro-choice mayor of New York City (if you don't count the "blemish" of babies not allowed to live), Giuliani surprised a lot of people when he said if he is elected president he would name only "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court. That sounded pretty good to some, until Giuliani added during a CNN interview that he thinks a person who believes the Constitution should be interpreted as written could also vote to uphold Roe v. Wade and that he supports public financing of abortions for poor women who want them.
Twisting himself even further, Giuliani said denying a poor woman tax dollars to pay for an abortion would deprive her of a "constitutional right."
While the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and a free press, it does not follow that the government should buy me a newspaper if I can't afford one. And as a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade, why would Giuliani name judges who oppose it? Would a pro-life candidate be credible if he promised to name only judges who read into the Constitution whatever he or she wished?
Giuliani claims that Roe v. Wade established a "constitutional right" to abortion. The Court, unable to find that "right" clearly stated anywhere in the Constitution, finally concluded that it was implied in either the 14th Amendment, which protects one's right to privacy, or in the "penumbra" of the Bill of Rights.
If Giuliani believes in a strict construction interpretation of the Constitution, he could not support abortion, because a strict constructionist does not find language permitting it. For him to take the position he does on abortion and then to say he would nominate strict constructionists to the bench twists him and the law into a pretzel.
Giuliani says people who don't like his position do not have to vote for him. Many social conservatives who view abortion as a make-or-break issue are likely to follow his advice.
-© 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.