Bush's Comments on the Dred Scott Case


From: Bush, George W. "The Second Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate." Washington University, St. Louis, MO. 8 October 2004. Online. Available:http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2004c.html

MICHAELSON:"Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?

Bush responded with the following:

"I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get in the way of the law. I would pick somebody who would strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States."

"Let me give you a couple of examples, I guess, of the kind of person I wouldn't pick."

"I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution."

"Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights."

"That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America."

"And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution."