The legalization of slavery is a big campaign issue. Just ask Whoopi Goldberg. Republican nominee John McCain appeared on the Septemeber 12 edition of "The View." Answering a question about his opposition to Roe v. Wade, McCain insisted that he would support judges who strictly interpret the Constitution. This must have set alarms for Whoopi Goldberg who asked "do I have to worry about becoming a slave again?" [audio available here]
If Goldberg -- who in the past has shown clear ignorance about the Constitution -- would actually read the Constitution, she would know a strict constructionist would not return America to slavery. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Initially Senator McCain ignored Goldberg's question, but Whoopi expressed her enslavement anxiety again adding "there are certain things in the Constitution that you had to change." The "View" co-host should know that, unlike the legalization of abortion, slavery was abolished through a constitutional amendment, not a Supreme Court decision.
The transcript follows.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: There has also been a question burning amongst voters and actually our viewers, and that is the question of Roe v. Wade. And as president, if you were, no softballs coming from me, even though you have my vote. Would you as president work to overturn that? And then would Sarah Palin be working to overturn Roe v. Wade?
SENATOR JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I think what we would be doing is appointing or nominating justices to the United States Supreme Court and other courts who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States. We would not impose a litmus test on any issue because that’s not fair to the American people. But they would have to have a clear record of strict interpretation.
BARBARA WALTERS: That’s kind of the other way of saying people who would want to overturn Roe v. Wade.
McCAIN: That, that, well, that is saying that, I believe Roe v. Wade was a very bad decision, Barbara. [audience groans] I think it was a bad decision. I thought other, I thought other decisions of the United States Supreme Court were bad decisions. But I want people on the Court who, quote, "do interpret" and not just on the issue of Roe v. Wade, but on other issues.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Do I have to be worried about becoming a slave again?
McCAIN: My interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is that the United States Supreme Court enforces the Constitution of the United States and does not legislate nor invent areas that are responsibilities, according to the Constitution, of the legislative branch.
HASSELBECK: So it was in how the law came up, it was in how Roe v. Wade came apart was the issue. You, you want it to be through the Constitution from the people not from the bench.
McCAIN: And I believe that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, then the states would make these decisions.
GOLDBERG: Can you just, and I don’t want to misinterpret what you’re saying. Did you say you wanted strict Constitutionalists? Because that, that-
McCAIN: No, I want people who interpret the Constitution of the United States the way our founding fathers envision-
GOLDBERG: Does that-
McCAIN: -for them to do.
GOLDBERG: Should I be worried about being a slave, about being returned to slavery because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change.
McCAIN: I, I understand your point.
GOLDBERG: Okay, okay.
McCAIN: I understand that point and I, I, [applause] thank you. That’s an excellent point.
GOLDBERG: Thank you sir.
McCAIN: And I thank you.
WALTERS: Before we go, before we go, just to give a different picture because you talk- [laughter]
GOLDBERG: I got scared.
JOY BEHAR: She’s picturing herself on the plantation.
GOLDBERG: I got scared. I gotta start running.
WALTERS: You and Sherri, we’ll take care of you. Us white folk will take care of you.
SHERRI SHEPHERD: Oh my God.