The Corner

Lithwick’s Possible Scoop

Most of Dahlia Lithwick’s latest piece in Newsweek is well-trod ground: She dwells on the supposed contradiction between Gov. Palin’s praising her daughter for choosing not to abort her own child and thinking that in an ideal world the choice to abort would not be available.

But this passage jumped out at me: “[T]he GOP platform would bar women from choosing to have an abortion, even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. And McCain has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe.” The first sentence jumped out at me because it’s a pet peeve: The GOP platform actually says nothing about pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. The second sentence jumped out because it’s news to me. I’ve never read any quote from McCain pledging to appoint justices who would overturn Roe.

I’ve heard him say several times that Roe should be overturned, and that he is looking for judicial conservatives to put on the bench. But has he gone the extra step of saying that his appointees would be pre-committed to reversing Roe? Not that I’m aware of.

In a recent interview, McCain seemed to shy away from taking that step.

GLAMOUR: I want to ask about reproductive rights. Twenty-three percent of your pro-choice female supporters believe that you are for a woman’s right to choose abortion, which is not accurate. Can you explain your position on abortion? Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?

JM: I believe that Roe v. Wade was a very bad decision that should have not ever been in the United States Supreme Court. I am pro-life. I have a long record of being pro-life. I believe that there are more and more Americans that understand the sanctity of human life.

A follow-up on abortion.

GLAMOUR: Senator, you’ve made it clear that you think we should have members of the Supreme Court who are interpreting the Constitution strictly.

JM: But, let me add, I have never and will never impose a litmus test on them. I want them to have the philosophy of interpreting the Constitution strictly, but I will never ask for a position on a specific issue. I don’t think that’s fair to the nominees or the country… What is important to me is a proven record, such as Justice Roberts has and Justice Alito.

Three possibilities here, then: 1) Lithwick has a scoop; 2) McCain has made a litmus-test pledge somewhere else; 3) Newsweek’s fact-checkers slipped up.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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