October 1st, 2008
09:48 PM ET
14 years ago

Palin has difficulty naming court case she disagrees with


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/01/art.cbs.cnn.jpg caption="Couric interviewed Palin last week."](CNN) - Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had difficulty naming a specific Supreme Court case she disagreed with besides Roe v. Wade in a long-awaited clip CBS News aired Wednesday night.

The comments, first reported by Politico, came in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric taped last week.

"Well, let's see. There's –of course –in the great history of American rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American," Palin said. "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–"

"Can you think of any?" Couric interjected.

"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," Palin responded. "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."

Palin's comments came in the same interview during which she gave a widely-panned answer on the economic bailout bill and had trouble describing John McCain's record on regulation of the financial industry.

The interview later became the subject of Saturday Night Live's opening sketch last weekend.

Cafferty Blog: Are Palin’s interviews with Couric helping her?

When Couric posed the same question to Joe Biden, the Democratic VP candidate and longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he disagreed with a ruling that invalidated a portion of the Violence Against Women Act.

"You know, I’m the guy who wrote the Violence Against Women act. And I said that every woman in America if they are beaten and abused by a man should be able to take that person to court. Meaning you should be able to go to federal court and sue in federal court the man who abused you if you can prove that abuse," Biden said. "But they said no that a woman, there’s no federal jurisdiction and I held, they acknowledged, I held about 1,000 hours of hearings proving that there’s an effect in interstate commerce."

"Women who are abused and beaten and beaten are women who are not able to be in the work force. And the Supreme Court said there is an impact on commerce but this is federalizing a private crime and we’re not going to allow it. I think the Supreme Court was wrong about that decision," he continued.

Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (623 Responses)
  1. anonymous


    The reason why it matters soooo much if she can name a case or not is because there are potentially THREE supreme court justices to be named this next term. So, given that she is one heart beat away from the Presidency, I would like to know that she has some grasp of constitutional law and what her views are so I can understand what type of Justice SHE might nominate if she is President. Remember, Justice seats are life terms.

    October 1, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. IndependentThinker

    I suppose this is example of what Palin refers to as a "gotcha" question. This question is certainly relevant to how Palin may view certain issues. She disagrees with Roe v. Wade so therefore she is probably (and turns out is) "pro-life." However, I think that when the President nominates a candidate for the Supreme Court, a knowledge of past Supreme Court decisions isn't necessary (although it doesn't hurt). All that the President needs is an understanding of what type of decision-maker he or she wants to appoint, and then look for a candidate whose record reflects that type of decision-making. THE PRESIDENT'S FUNCTION IS EXECUTIVE IN NATURE, NOT JUDICIAL. It amazes me how so many people have hated Palin from the outset.

    October 1, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. NVBrat

    Why is everyone upset with McCain for cornering Palin? She could have said "No thanks" to his request. McCain knew what he was getting her into – so did she. And she jumped at the chance. Now she's coming across as a real idiot. Her own doing.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. Mike

    Please forgive my optimism, but I think there's a reasonable chance we will soon have a new president and vice president, each with triple-digit IQ scores, and, moreover (here's the real shocker), those scores are at least one standard deviation above the mean!

    On a lighter note, all the letters to the left of the equals sign are identical to all the letters used on the right side of the equals sign:


    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. Chris

    to the lady who asked why nobody asks Obama this...it's because he was a Constitutional Law professor. Needless to say he knows his cases and it would be a wasted question. try again there.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. rthomas

    So did Katie as Joe to name a second? I guess not. Why not ask her about issues. I thought this was about issues, not names of court cases. Katie: "Joe, name one piece of legislation that Obama has lead on that has helped the American people." Joe: "blah blah blah". Katie: "Joe, let me try again, please tell me one piece of legislation that Obama has head on that has helped the American people." Joe: "uh, uh, uh, well you know Katie, Obama he wants change and Bush is bad, so there you have it. That is just what we need to do."
    Katie: "Joe, tell me where Obama came out on issue X in the Illinois senate". Joe: "blah blah blah". Katie: "Joe, let me try again, what position did Obama take on issue X in the Illinois senate." Joe: "uh, uh, uh, well you know Katie, Obama he wants change and Bush is bad, so there you have it. That is just what we need to do." Enough said.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. ncharge

    Sarah has to take some blame for accepting. She knew she was ready... but John McCain and Camp should be Kicked... They made a fool out of her! First Dude hasn't taught her most of the history yet...he's too busy making the decisions for her...

    Come on...John McCain should be a shame......

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. Mike, FL

    Now I understand why it took her six years and 5 different schools to get 4year degree in Journalism!

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. T.Rice

    This woman is crashing and burning at an alarming rate. It is amazinng to see all of the Republican talking heads on tv still trying to make Sarah Palin into something that she is not. It is time to end this nightmare. Sarah must go – and John McCain too.

    October 1, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  10. Disgusted Republican, Dallas TX

    The format of the upcoming VP Debate will not test Palin. The questions are all known weeks ahead of time. Palin will be able to deliver rehearsed little speeches and soundbytes that someone else has written for her, throw in a couple of winks and a few folksy words in that nerve jangling accent of hers and sound like she knows her stuff.

    The point of the single debate that VPs have should be to show their mettle to the US public, not give a trained parrot a chance to regurgitate Rove/Cheney ideology.

    What a waste of time. Watch Fox News and the Republican party faithful proclaim her as Einstein-reincarnate on Friday.

    October 1, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Scott

    Truly pathetic...this is the great hope of the Republican Party?? What the heck happened to McCain. Anyone who thinks this woman is qualified for her position is obviously criminally insane. The 1st important decision of a Presidential Candidate is to pick a qualified, intelligent person with the necessary experience, not someone who fails on all counts. This should be proof enough for the fence sitters out there that McCain has made his first huge mistake. Wake up people, this is the most important election of our lifetime not a student council race.

    October 1, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. amy

    How is asking what magazines or books you have read to shape your world view cornering her? What should she be asking her? Don't be ridiculous. She isn't interviewing for a job at Walmart. She is the potential next vice president. The way the republicans are spinning this is completely unbelievable, but I think the fact that some of you are buying it is absolutely frightening. I don't know about you, but I don't want "joe six pack "as ms. palin described herself as my next VP.

    October 1, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Gail

    here it is in simplistic terms–any 43 year old woman who is not smart enough to not get pregnant certainly cannot be smart enough to be vice president, much less, potentially the president.

    October 1, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. ncharge

    Bush is much smarter than Palin because we do understand him clearly.....

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. Woman In Michigan

    No Sexism...women that are unprepared to lead should be questioned on this, and I find it incredibly difficult to believe that Obama couldn't explain Marbury v. Madison given that he was a constitutional law scholar.

    There were a host of female Republican governors, representatives and senators that were intelligent and well prepared for the role of vice president that deserve our respect and that I wouldn't mind supporting at the polls. Palin is not one of them.

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Grace Corcoran

    If Sarah Palin gets through the Vice-Presidential debate without making a major gaffe, the republican party will prepare her membership application in mensa. If Sarah Palin totally screws up the debate, I bet they say Biden was so sexist, the moderator was so biased, she couldn't hear the question clearly (because her ear piece was also talking under her long flowing hair), those questions were too difficult - it's only the VP debate not the Presidential debate. Well Sarah, I have one thing to say pre-debate, you're in the majors - they use hard balls - little league uses wiffle balls. As the Big Dog company says "You either Run with the Big Dogs or You Stay on the Porch."

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. Tracey

    Republicans, is it really the liberal media's fault that Palin can't answer basic questions about our government – when Katie Couric asked Biden the EXACT SAME QUESTION (and he actually had an answer)? Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it is impossible to think that someone who can't even name a single landmark Supreme Court case could one day be in the position of naming justices to that same court.

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  18. President Joel Jefferson

    The Republicans need to quit saying Palins name in the same breath with PResident Ronald Regan's name, every time they do that they lose 10 thousand votes. On second thought, keep making the comparision hahahaha

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Natasha

    That's just great....

    October 1, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. here here

    Goodness, you idiots. She probably didn't want to provide fodder for the MSM to attack her as saying she agrees or disagrees with a particular decision. There is absolutely no proof here that she couldn't name one.

    October 1, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  21. mgb408

    Hey as Mcsame put it..its all gotcha! journalism right???..plizzz!!!..go cheat a cow!!

    October 1, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Kevin

    To suggest that Palin is the victim of sexism here is ridiculous. The question was a softball thown by Couric to both Palin and Biden. Given that the Supreme Court effectively stripped 3 billion dollars from the Anchorage jury's 5 billion dollar award., he could have done so much with that answer. But she didn't.. Why? Because she is an airhead who has no business on the national stage.

    October 1, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. Christian

    Sarah's made some terrible, inexcusable mistakes in recent memory but that's not one of them. Really, who cares?! The question had too many qualifiers attached to it. Not only did she want the name of a Supreme Court case, but one that Palin thought should have been dismissed and left up to the states. That's a pretty tough question to handle off the cuff. I'm a law student and I can't even do it. I agree with most famous Supreme Court decisions and even the ones I don't agree with I wouldn't say they should have been dismissed or left to the states.

    Sarah is stupid. Don't get me wrong. But this time, she made a regular person mistake, not a Palin mistake.

    October 1, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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