July 18th, 2007
03:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Giuliani vows to appoint 'strict constructionist' judges

Giuliani campaigned in Iowa Wednesday.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CNN) - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pledged to appoint "strict constructionist" judges to the federal bench during a campaign visit Wednesday to this city located in the southwest corner of the Hawkeye State.

"I would appoint judges like Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito ... Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas," Giuliani said.

He added, "We have to appoint strict constructionist judges because judges interpret the constitution. They should not be allowed to make it up... They will not get it into their heads that they're really legislators and that they can go around changing things."

A strict constructionist judge tries to determine the original meaning of the Constitution based on nothing more than the words provided in the document itself. Judges of this philosophy often attempt to decipher the founding fathers' original intent.

When asked if he would consider landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade when making appointments to the Supreme Court, Giuliani said, "Roe against wade is not a litmus test. No particular case is a litmus test."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Rick, Kansas City MO

    Rudy is a pit of lies

    July 18, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. jcw, Kalamazoo, MI

    That brings my gavel down – Rudy is dismissed.

    July 18, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Wrong preposition there, Rick. What you should have said is that Rudy is a pit for lies. Wherever he goes lies fall away and only the truth remains. He's a compulsive truth teller and a man who sends lies like "universal health care is the only answer" packing. I can't wait until he takes the oath as our 44th pres.

    July 18, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. David, Tulsa OK

    This originally started out as fun, looking for political viewpoints to read and potentially rebut, but it has become so predictable that it's becoming boring - postings with hostility spewing out towards a person of the party that is considered "the enemy".

    No wonder DC is a mess, if the legislators do indeed represent the voters.

    Specific to Rudy's comments - in a strict constitutional view, constructionsts as described are the valid 3d column in the American democracy since only Congress was ordained to legislate. Activist judges ON BOTH SIDES tend to expand law by their rulings beyond the actions brought to their courts.

    The problem is, "interpretation" of constitutionality is as arbitrary as sense of style or personalities. Why else would you have people like John Paul Stevens and John Roberts on the same bench, each convinced he is correct and the other guy is off his rocker?

    July 18, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. JC, San Jose, CA

    Yeah right! So does that mean he will appoint judges who eliminate the income tax?

    July 18, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Stephen

    We do not need another Administration elected on Fear.... No Ruby

    July 18, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Will - Miami, Fl

    Listen up people: I'm a long-time conservative/republican. Rudy is a dirt-bag. You need to research this guy. There's a BUNCH of stuff about this man that you're not hearing from the main-stream media.

    Ask the firefighters – look at the video. Don't stop there, look into the signs that his (then girlfriend) made a BUNCH of money on for the city.

    This man is a RAT!

    July 18, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Howard Masur St. Charles, Illinois

    This idea that judges such as Alito, Roberts and Scalia are strict constructionists and are not activists is complete nonsense. Most famously in Bush versus Gore, Scalia and four others interceded against the Florida legislature to stop the recount. Nowhere is it in the Constitution that the court has that power. Most recently they overturned the decisions of elected officials in Seattle and Louisville to stop desegregation efforts. The right wing of the court is just as activist as the liberal wing when it suits their political purposes.

    For Guiliani to say he will appoint only strict constructionists like Roberts Alito, et al is misleading at best.

    July 18, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. James Atlanta, GA

    Hey Will, do you mean the firefighters union. Because the firefighters in NYC have endorsed Rudy. By the way, even the head of the firefighters union admits that their video against Rudy was political, and that they received funding from an un-named political action committee to make the film. So, it was a partisan hit-job. Not surprising since the union is widely pro-democrat on national elections, and the union president was on Kerry's 2004 election committee.

    As for his girlfriend, which is his wife mind you, making money on for the city. What? Was it on or for? If it was for, good for her, she did her civic duty and helped NYC. And, if it was on the city...I guess that is a really unclear way of saying she took it from the city, which no one is talking about because those who do research know it is a non-starter. Face the facts man, in todays political climate, if it is not being reported, it is because the reporters new that there was not enough facts to back-up what they have to say. No one wants to be the next Dan Rather. Of course loud mouths from Miami have nothing to fear.

    July 18, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. David, Tulsa OK

    Howard from St. Charles – interesting examples, although subsequent analysis (by the NYT, no less!) have shown Bush would have won the recount, so that point is a non-starter for the "Bush stole" crowd - but it is a good point about intervention.

    The bottom line really is, someone is either for or against constructionist or activist courts depending on what issue is before the court. So the real arguement is about how you want the court to rule based on political or ideological viewpoint. The wrong make-up at the wrong time can sink a pet cause.

    July 18, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Katie A, Lincoln, NE

    I'm so bummed I miss this speech!
    I only live an hour from Council Bluffs, over the Missouri River in Nebraska. But I'm sure most of the Iowans who attended agreed with his views. As a democrat, I just hope if he is elected Giuliani would do a better job of selecting justices than George W. Bush has done.

    July 18, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Will - Miami, Fl

    lol @ "loudmouths from Miami"

    Don't like me ripping on "Americas Mayor"? Too bad dude. He'll never get the nomination.

    While I've read the letter and seen the video from the union, I've NOT heard any kind of retraction or any of the firefighters in NYC dispute it. Show me.

    Civic duty?!?! ROTFLMAO! Now we're calling no-bid contracts, kick-backs, and cronyism civic duty?! You're a sucker dude. You need to wake up.

    PS. I'm a republican – have been for a long time. I think that Rudy would be as bad (or worse) for this country than Hillary...

    July 18, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Brian, San Diego CA

    If he ran as a Democrat, at least he wouldn't be lying about his ideology. 3 wives, children who feel unimportant, and of course, supporting abortion. Where in there is he a Republican?

    Just jump ships, Rudy so we don't have to put up with Hilary for 4 more years.

    July 18, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. bret, atl, ga

    Justice Thomas is the only constructionist on the court, and the only one worth his salt IMHO.

    Rudy is just pandering to a vote he will never get, because everyone knows once he gets it he will do whatever the hell Rudy wants (or whatever his shadowy masters tell him to do).

    Nobody buys this garbage. Retire with some amount of dignity, please, Rudy.

    July 18, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. A.J., Seattle, WA

    Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas are not "strict constructionalists" any more than the other justices. For example, how about the constitution's statement that the government "shall make no law. . .abridging the freedom of speech." But in a recent decision, these same judges ruled that the government can punish a kid for holding a sign that says "bong hits for Jesus." Regardless of whether you think the kid should have been able to display the sign, a true "strict constructionalist" would have to hold that doing so is allowed.

    July 18, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Any lawyer worth a [scheiss] knows this "legislation from the bench" stuff is total bull[manure]. Judges make law every day in the course of interpreting statutes and Constitutions by applying law to facts and creating so-called "interstitial law" to fill in the gaps where legislators have not been specific enough. But anyone who would appoint more ScAliThomases is a danger to many years of well-established precedents which guarantee a broad spectrum of civil liberties (i.e. freedoms), which are not just for liberals but for everyone.

    July 18, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Sally

    If you really didn't want judges that were making up their own laws, you wouldn't be supporting those judges, Mr Giuliani. What happened to you? You never used to pander to the extreme right. We had such hopes you could remain a moderate centralist. I was disappointed but the more you do this, the quicker I am approaching horrified. Am I going to have to vote Democrat?

    July 18, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  18. Rich, Boston Mass

    The fact that Rudy even said this speaks volumes of his perception of voters. Keep feeding them dogma, sooner or later, they'll fall for it. After 7 years of Bush, our appetite is full!

    July 19, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Michael, Philadelphia, PA

    I have to weigh in on the "strict constructionist" myth. None of the right wing judges on the bench are "strict constructionists." It is a total crock of bs and I wish the media would stop repeating this lie. They are republican hacks who have lost their copy of the constitution and make up laws to support big business and government against the rights of the individual. It is a travesty. They are party activists who have no place on the court. The comment about free speech above is just one example of many of our civil liberties being trashed by this kangaroo court.

    July 19, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Mike, HI

    Strict constitutionalist judges would end up declaring half of Giulani's policies unconstitutional. He may want to rethink his stance.

    July 19, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |