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Hardball - Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

SHOW: HARDBALL 19:00

BYLINE: Chris Matthews

GUESTS: Billy Tauzin; Bob Barr; Howard Fineman; William F. Buckley; Jr Senator Orrin Hatch; Rick Santorum; Peggy Noonan

HIGHLIGHT:
Interviews with Billy Tauzin, Bob Barr; Howard Fineman; William F. Buckley, Jr Senator Orrin Hatch; Rick Santorum; Peggy Noonan

BODY:
MATTHEWS: Please come back. Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Rick Santorum is a Pennsylvania Republican. I want to ask you the same questions I asked Senator Hatch. If the conservatives got control of the Supreme Court, the pro-life people, would Roe vs. Wade be overturned.

SENATOR RICK SANTORUM (R)-PENNSYLVANIA: I don't know the answer to that. I think you have different camps in the conservative arena, so some would say yes. Others would say what Senator Hatch says, either they are not sure or maybe it is not the right time to do it.

And my feeling is that I'm in the camp that says that we should. I mean, this is a clear case. I liken it to the Dread Scott case. And this is a case, the Dread Scott -- What we did is we took the liberty, in the, in our founding document. The declaration of independence. We say we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And what the Dread Scott case did was put the liberty rights of people ahead of the life rights of a slaves. And what we are doing -- and by the way, that was the law of the land and eventually overturned by a war and then subsequently by the court. The same case is here.

We are putting the liberty rights of the mother ahead of the life rights of the child. And that's wrong. That's taking -- there's a reason life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are in that order. You can't have happiness without liberty. You can't have liberty without life. And so, I would argue it's fundamentally flawed and needs to be changed.

MATTHEWS: If someone disagreed with that goal you have of overturning Roe vs. Wade, should not they vote against, as a Senator on the Judiciary Committee, vote against a nominee who expresses the same goal that you do?

SANTORUM: Well, I don't think, number one, that the person we're talking about, Mr. Pryor -- Attorney General Pryor -- has express that had viewpoint. He's been very, very clear, as have all the nominees, that they would uphold the law. And the reason is, is because they're not up for the Supreme Court.

These are folks who are up for lower courts.

MATTHEWS: I got you.

SANTORUM: And if I was up for a lower court, I would say, look, my job is to faithfully execute the laws of the land. And that's what I, if I was nominated for court and I have no intention of ever doing that, but I would have to answer the question the same way.

That's not my job to reinterpret the constitution. That's the Supreme Court's job. And while I feel passionately, as you know, on this issue, I also feel passionately -- I have an obligation to faithfully execute my duties. And I believe Attorney General Pryor would do the same thing.

MATTHEWS: If the courts threw this matter back to the states, and Pennsylvania outlawed abortion, would you think it would be a crime to cross state lines to get an abortion elsewhere?

SANTORUM: I think, number one, that if it went back to the states, what would happen is that most of the states, even prior to 1972, were changing their abortion laws to reflect the public consciousness.

MATTHEWS: But would you penalize a young woman who crossed -- or a woman who crossed the state line of Pennsylvania to somewhere else to get an abortion because it became illegal in Pennsylvania?

SANTORUM: Well, I would have to think about that.

MATTHEWS: What effect would the law have if you could simply to go to New Jersey or New York to get an abortion. What difference would it make if Pennsylvania outlawed abortion? That it what I have always wondered about.

SANTORUM: Yes. I would have to think about it. Today, to be very...

MATTHEWS: You haven't thought about it?

SANTORUM: No. Because the possibility to pass any kind of -- first off, the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned is something that is so far off in my mind that I don't really contemplate the consequences of it.

MATTHEWS: That's what I always ask about. When someone says they're pro-life, I said, you are going to try to outlaw abortion. Fine, that's your position. But how do you do it in a country where people can move from one state to another? How can you ever really outlaw abortion in a country where there is always going to be a liberal state like New York or Maryland that will legalize it.

SANTORUM: Well, what you can do is allow the people collectively to make that decision. That, to me, is what this is all about. This is a very important moral issue that should be decided by the people, not by nine unelected people. And will there be inconsistencies state to state? Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) There will be traffic in abortions, state by state. People will go across the borders like they do the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Well...

MATTHEWS: They can already get an abortion across the boarder.

SANTORUM: With all due respect, Chris, that happens today. There are areas that don't have abortion clinics and areas that do. In Pennsylvania for example, probably 90 percent of my counties don't have abortion clinics, so they have to go to other places in the state to have abortions. So the idea that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Would you penalize that?

SANTORUM: I didn't suggest that I would.

MATTHEWS: Would you?

SANTORUM: Would -- I -- you know, I would have to think about it.

MATTHEWS: If you're not going to do it, if you're not going to think about it, it is ineffective. The law of outlawing abortions, because if you can always go to the next county or go to the next state, it isn't a pro-life position. It is simply a nominal pro-life position, isn't it?

SANTORUM: My point is that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What is the point? If you are going to outlaw abortion. Doesn't it -- don't you have to do it in a way that penalizes anyone who gets an abortion or else it is just a -- who has bus money?

SANTORUM: OK, Chris, look. The problem right now is that the law is the way it is and the collective morality is where it is. If we ever get to that point, would I consider doing that? It would -- I would be doing so under a very different America than we have today. So, in the America today, that makes no sense.

In the America, you know, with a changed right in the constitution or not a right in the constitution, and my opinion doesn't exist, and with state laws that would outlaw abortion, that may be something I would be willing to do. But at this point, I don't think it makes any sense.

MATTHEWS: Well, the reason I ask you, Senator, is because I think about this all the time. I'm not trying to be tricky. I do wonder how the solution would ever be worked out. Great guy. Thank you having you on. We didn't ask you about that problem with gays, but we'll pass that one by. Thank you very much, Senator Rick Santorum.

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