Jerry Falwell Didn't Do His Homework

Talk-show host John Lofton, who calls himself a “Recovering Republican,” came prepared for today’s conference call about this weekend’s “Justice Sunday III” event that will promote Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell did not. As a participant on the call and a keynote speaker for “Justice Sunday III,” Falwell was quizzed by Lofton about Alito’s rulings on abortion-related cases.

Lofton, co-host of “The American View” radio program, has authored an article detailing his belief that Alito is not pro-life. As evidence, Lofton cites cases Alito handled while a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Lofton also criticized President Bush’s selection of John Roberts for the Supreme Court.)

As for today’s call, when Falwell was asked by a reporter if he wanted Alito to offer his opinion on Roe v. Wade, Falwell responded:

“I personally believe [Alito] is pro-life and the president is keeping his word, which was that he would be nominating people who are like Scalia and Thomas. Because I believe in the president’s integrity, I’m willing to accept that fact without asking the question.”

When it became time for Lofton to ask his question, he directed it to Falwell on his answer about Alito. Here’s the transcript:

LOFTON: “Dr. Falwell said earlier that you believe Samuel Alito is pro-life. Samuel Alito, while a judge, has voted to strike down a ban on partial-birth abortion, he has repeatedly cited approvingly Roe v. Wade, which he didn’t have to do, and in a wrongful-death negligence case involving an 8-and-a-half month stillborn baby, he ruled against the mother, saying the unborn baby was not constitutionally a person. I’d like to ask Dr. Falwell: Upon what is your view based that Samuel Alito is pro-life?”

FALWELL: “Based upon the promise of the president that he would appoint persons like Scalia and Thomas. The president’s never lied to me about anything before or, to my knowledge, anyone else. And while I am not, John, versed on the particular cases you are talking about, I will get versed on them because I don’t believe he’s done that.”

LOFTON: “OK. Well, that is his record and that is the way he’s voted, and I would have thought you would have checked his record prior to endorsing him. Thank you very much, sir.”

Whether you agree with Lofton or not, he makes an excellent point about Falwell’s not being versed on important cases that reflect on Alito’s record.

It reminded me of the blind faith conservatives such as Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jay Sekulow placed in Harriet Miers when President Bush said: “Trust me.” Conservatives need to do their homework — Jerry Falwell included.