Finally, Some Honesty About The Right’s Litmus Test

Traditionally, Republican presidents and right-wing supporters have claimed not to have any sort of anti-abortion “litmus test” for the judges they intended to nominate to the Supreme Court.  For instance, that is exactly what President Bush claimed before he nominated John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.   

In place of the anti-abortion “litmus test,” Republicans and their right-wing allies have hewn to language about nominating judges “in the mold of Scalia and Thomas” – which is basically the same thing.  So ingrained has this rhetorical trick become that it is currently being used by the all of the GOP presidential candidates. 

Well, at least the frontrunners. 

Months ago, Rep. Duncan Hunter stated that “If any judicial candidate comes before me and can look at a sonogram … and not see valuable life, then I will not appoint him.”  Now, Sen. Sam Brownback who, like Hunter, is still trying to establish himself as a viable candidate, has apparently decided to follow Hunter’s lead in eschewing the standard “in the mold of Scalia and Thomas” language in favor of openly admitting that he would apply a pretty basic litmus test for his nominees:  

Sen. Sam Brownback was one of three Republican presidential candidates to address the National Right to Life convention Friday at a forum for those seeking the GOP nomination. He said that, as president, he would like to nominate the next Supreme Court justice who could provide the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“We’re one vote shy on the Supreme Court. I want to be the president to appoint that justice,“ the GOP contender said.

Brownback’s not going to get the chance to appoint that justice, but at least some of the Republican candidates are willing to be honest about the very obvious “litmus test” they have, and always have had, for Supreme Court nominees.