Of concern to McCain’s campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin’s interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.
The [anonymous] Palin aide ? revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.
After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases. There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
I suppose there aren’t many black people in Alaska, so maybe Brown v. Board of Ed. wasn’t a big deal there. But surely she recalls Dred Scott? Perhaps she is aware of some of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings striking down the Bush administration’s illegal detention of noncombatants, and one hopes she’s got an opinion. The Youngstown Steel decisions are pretty influential, too, and it would be nice to have a president or vicepresident who knows about them after these last 8 years.
But nope, all she knows is that the Court does stuff with abortion. She seems unaware even of Alaska v. United States, a simply-named decision issued during her campaign for Alaska’s governorship determining whether her state or the Federal government could lay claim to certain undersea areas. Or the famous “Bong Hits for Jesus” case, which emerged from her state during her governorship. Or, indeed, mere months before she was named John McCain’s VP nominee, the Supreme Court decided Exxon v. Baker, a massive ruling upholding civil suits filed by her constituents following the catastrophic oil spill caused by the Exxon Valdez. Her constituents, damaged by Exxon’s negligence and still seeking recompense after 19 years, had their punitive damage awards reduced by a sharply divided Supreme Court.
Or perhaps she’s familiar with Edwards v. Aguillard. In that case, the Supreme Court held that a Louisiana law using academic freedom as a wedge to force creationism into public schools was unconstitutional. That decision, was decided in 1987 on a vote of 7-2, with Scalia and Rehnquist in dissent. They insisted that the legislature was free to require teachers to give equal time to creationism and evolution. Since then, Rehnquist has been replaced by the equally conservative Roberts, Clarence Thomas occupies a position even further into the maniac fringes of legal thought, and Justice Alito has joined that bloc. Sarah Palin, if elected VP, might have a hand in putting a justice on the court who would openly reverse that decision, setting science education in America back to the 19th century, if not earlier.
But she hasn’t even heard of that decision. She, like John McCain, just thinks that that teaching about dinosaur footprints next to human footprints makes good sense, and undoubtedly wouldn’t mind promoting a justice who would agree.
This, my friends, is not OK.