When Katie Couric asked her whether "there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution," Sarah Palin gave the wrong answer. She said yes.
Now, depending on your point of view, that might be the right answer in a legal sense. But it was definitely the wrong answer politically. Social conservatives don't believe the Constitution protects a right to privacy, and Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark case in which the Supreme Court decided that it does, is one of the right's favorite examples of an "activist" decision. Moreover, John McCain, Palin's own running mate, appears to believe that Griswold was a bad decision and that there is no such right in the Constitution.
It's not easy to find out what McCain's position on Griswold is. And it's smart of him and his campaign to avoid any definitive statements either way. He's got to walk a pretty fine line on the issue: To appease his base, which has concerns about his record on social issues and judicial nominations, he has to at least hint that he's not a Griswold fan. On the other hand, he risks turning off independents with such a position. Opposing Roe v. Wade is one thing, but Griswold -- which, as Couric correctly pointed out, is the key precedent for Roe -- is something altogether different, and much riskier politically.
But in 1987, before he was running for president, he could afford to be less cautious. And in a floor statement he made supporting the controversial and ultimately unsuccessful nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, McCain made his feelings on the issue plain.
For the remarks he made in 1987 click here to read the full post.