COURIC: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.
COURIC: That’s the cornerstone of Roe v Wade
PALIN: I do. And I believe that –individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.
COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
PALIN: Well, let’s see. There’s –of course –in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are–those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know–going through the history of America, there would be others but–
COURIC: Can you think of any?
PALIN: Well, I could think of–of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
Her answers here are a complete mess.
(1) She believes there’s a constitutional right to privacy, but she disagrees with the holding in Roe, which is the leading case for that proposition. Well what’s encompassed by this right then? What about, for example, Griswold? (Unconstitutional to criminalize the purchase of contraception by married couples). I realize Couric isn’t a lawyer, but that followup would have occured to a lot of journalists.
(2) If the basis for opposing Roe is because you believe, as she says she does, that abortion involves the killing of an innocent human life, then its nonsensical to turn into a states’ rights issue as she does. That’s equivalent to saying you think slavery is a gross violation of human rights, but whether its legal ought to be left up to individual states. In effect she’s saying “I think whether murder ought to be legal or not should be decided at the local level.”
(3) She can’t name one other SCOTUS decision she disagrees with? This isn’t a law school classroom — it’s not like she even has to give a case name. How about Kelo, the recent takings case that had all Wingnuttia in an uproar? She could have simply described what happened — elderly lady kicked out of lifelong home for the sake of a private development project. How about affirmative action? The death penalty? Lawrence v. Texas? (State can’t criminalize homosexual activities between consenting adults — another privacy case by the way).
This is probably a classic example of dog whistle politics — even she seems to realize that on culture war issues the orthodoxies demanded by the GOP base have become quite unpopular, so she dodges the questions by feigning total ignorance. On the other hand, at this point Occam’s razor suggests she may actually be this ignorant.
(4) The last bit about having no role in changing the law seems to be based on an implicit promise that she’ll never actually be president.
Update: Reading through the responses in the cold light of day I realize I’ve way overanalyzed this: as Aimai reminds me, she really doesn’t know anything about anything. OK she knows two things: she’s opposed to legal abortion (this is part of the hard drive and requires no software installation), and the federal government should leave a lot of controversial issues to the states (this is probably the one talking point that stuck when she was being drilled over the last month on what to say regarding these matters).
And dogwhistle and Hogan make a key point: if she can’t even repeat the half dozen basic buzzwords on an issue like the role of the courts in American life, how reliable will she be on anything? They’ve really outsmarted themselves with this one.