On Judges, Litmus Tests, and People's Rights
There is only one recognized "litmus test" in this day and age outside the science classroom. It's the test applied by a politician appointing a judge, to detect where that judge stands on the issue of abortion.
George Will pretty much nails it here in a suggested statement for the President to make on the topic of abortion and judges. Will's point boils down to the fact that a lot of emphasis is being placed on the political reliability of judicial appointees as opposed to judicial integrity. Forgetting what one thinks about abortion, Roe v. Wade was inherently a judicial overreach. Will's comment was perfect: "However, I will seek judicial nominees disinclined to concoct spurious constitutional mandates for their policy preferences, as I believe the justices did in Roe."
Policy preferences are properly hashed out in two big houses of Congress by many people, watering down the more extreme and boosting (hopefully) the most helpful components of such preferences. Laws were not meant to be made by a small panel of the unelected. We left England for just that reason centuries ago, because rule by fiat is really a repugnant form of government.
But more to the point, I ask this question, for the moment ignoring the judicial overreach/political reliability issue: Why is there such emphasis, to the point of being a gateway issue to confirmation, placed on whether an individual would uphold caselaw permitting unborn children to be dismembered and killed in the womb for socio-economic convenience of certain women? Have we come to the point where such things are not just tolerable but rather sacred, to the point that opponents are the devils and not those advocating abortion?
And one last lesson. Through what trimester does Roe permit abortions? If you said up to the first trimester, you are sorely mistaken. Heard of partial-birth abortion? The thing that permits abortion up until the moment of delivery? That's because Roe does not create restrictions of any kind.
So when you hear of the litmus test from the likes of Charles Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller, Pat Leahy, Joe Biden and Dick Durbin, it's the killing of unborn babies that they are talking about and defending with such vitriol.
Yes folks, we've come that far. And please make sure your kid doesn't pray in school.