If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 25, 2002

The following exchange occurred on Sunday's "Meet the Press" on NBC between Kansas GOP Senator Sam Brownback and California's own Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

SEN. BROWNBACK: And I would hope we wouldn't have litmus tests on judges. It used to be that, OK, Ronald Reagan was accused of a litmus test on judge. We shouldn't have a litmus test from the left or the right on judges. And I think it'd be fair to say that that should be a standard for both sides.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to another...

SEN. FEINSTEIN: Let me just say one thing 'cause I can't let that one go. This isn't a federal district court. This is an appellate court. For most people, the appellate courts are very much like the Supreme Court. They decide the cases. There are big cases to be decided. There are points that many of us feel passionately about, one of them being Roe vs. Wade. Sam and I would disagree on Roe vs. Wade. I don't want to see Roe overturned. I'm in a position where I'm going to be very careful that a judge that I vote for to go to a circuit court will not do that. And I think I have every right to do so. It's not a question of a litmus test. It's a question of following established law and keeping that law intact.

SEN. BROWNBACK: I think that was defined as a litmus test under Ronald Reagan what Senator Feinstein just articulated.

Yep, Sam hit the nail on the head. Dianne, what you just described is a litmus test. If Brownback had said that he's only going to vote for judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade, then you'd be among the first ones to call it a litmus test and hit him over the head with it. Finally these Senators are admitting that they're only going to confirm judges who share their views on the issues, instead of simply determining if they are qualified.


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February 2002



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