Do you ever think, when a politician commits a huge gaffe, “wow, it must suck to be supporting that guy”? Because I’m feeling for Bill Richardson’s supporters right now:
Having blundered last week by saying Whizzer White would be his model chief justice, a reporter asks [Richardson] how he can reconcile that with his strong pro-choice position when White wrote the dissent in Roe v. Wade. Richardson says, “White was in the 60s. Wasn’t Roe v. Wade in the 80s?”
For the record: Byron White served from 1962 to 1993, when he was replaced by Ginsberg. Roe was decided in 1973, and White was part of the two justice minority in the case. As Garance says,
Not knowing when one of the most controversial court cases in the past half century was decided and who wrote the opinions in it is the domestic policy equivalent of a presidential candidate not being able to name the president of Pakistan or Iran.
My one qualification would be that Roe isn’t “one of the most controversial court cases in the past half century”; it is “the most controversial court cases in the past half century.” For Richardson to know absolutely nothing about it – or about his supposed model Supreme Court justice, for that matter – should render him about as serious a candidate as Mike Gravel. Oh, and for the record, if someone asks who your model justice is, the correct answer is either Brennan or Douglas.