Virginia Social Conservatives Hear Giuliani Praise Conservative Judges

Friday, February 16th 2007, 7:59 pm
By: News On 6

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who favors abortion rights, said Friday if elected in 2008 he wouldn't hesitate to appoint anti-abortion conservatives such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito to the federal bench.

Giuliani headed a fundraiser in Richmond organized by Jerry W. Kilgore, the anti-abortion Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2005, and attended by several social conservatives who oppose abortion.

``They share the kind of overall judicial philosophy that I have,'' Giuliani said during an impromptu news conference just before the fundraiser.

Giuliani said he helped select U.S. attorneys and federal marshals during his service in the Reagan administration. People who filled those positions were ``strict constructionists'' in their approach to constitutional law, he said.

``What I mean by strict constructionist, or using the plain language or meaning of the Constitution, is judges should try to interpret the Constitution, not make it up to fit their social preferences,'' Giuliani said.

Though not officially declared as a candidate, the popular former New York mayor is trying to win over social conservative Republicans, who can dominate primaries, particularly in Virginia and the South.

Giuliani's assurances that he could appoint federal jurists who disagree with his pro-choice stand on abortion cause social conservatives like longtime GOP activist Wayne Ozmore embrace Giuliani.

``I'm pro-life, so it's hard for me to accept that, but I'm also a veteran _ a veteran of (operations) Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort,'' said Ozmore, a veteran of the Iraq war in the early 1990s who attended the fundraiser.

Ozmore, GOP chairman for the 4th Congressional District, said he was comforted that Giuliani's assurances that he would appoint ``strict constructionists'' to federal judgeships without using positions on abortion as a litmus test.

``Right now, this country really needs leadership and Rudy Giuliani knows how to win the war on terror,'' Ozmore said.

Other abortion opponents at the event included the state's Republican lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling and Kilgore, who lost the governor's race to Democrat Timothy M. Kaine.

Giuliani also said he is through accepting payment for speaking at motivational seminars, speeches that reportedly net him $100,000 apiece.

``What we've done is we're taking no new ones, and we're going through the ones that exist to see what the commitments are, but we're not going to take any money for them,'' Giuliani said.

``I have to devote my full-time attention to this (candidacy),'' he said. ``This has all happened, as you know, a lot faster than we thought it would.''