Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan says he would choose Supreme Court justices on the basis of "the whole broad philosophy" they would bring to the bench -- and would not rule out jurists who support abortion.
Reagan says he would want judges who do not "cross over the line, as many times the Supreme Court has in recent years, and usurp legislative functions."
Reagan also said in an interview with the Associated Press that, if elected, he would withdraw the strategic arms limitation treaty from Senate consideration and seek new negotiations with the Soviety Union while strengthening U.S. military forces.
Dealing with judicial appointments, Reagan repeatedly stressed "broad, basic philosophy" as his guide. He said he would take the appointment of judges out of politics, and would seek jurists who would interpret the Constitution but would not try to legislate.
Asked whether he would consider a judge who had favored abortion rights, Reagan said, "I would have to take into consideration all of his views and his whole general philosophy."
The Republican platform includes a plank declaring: "We will work for the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life." wWhen that plank was adopted on July 15, it was interpreted by sponsors and opponents as well as a vow to oppose appointment of judges who support abortion.
Reagan said he doesn't read it that way. "That plank says 'has a respect for innocent life,'" he said. "Aren't all of us supposed to have that?"
Reagan has long been critical of SALT II, but his declaration was his first flat statement that he would actually pull the treaty from the Senate, where it has been awaiting ratification for more than 14 months.
Reagan also said a new U.S. arms buildup would put pressure on the Russians to strike an acceptable bargain on SALT.
"The one card that's been missing in these negotiations has been the possibility of an arms race," Reagan said. "Now, the Soviets have been racing, but with no competition . . . . He [the Soviets] will be far more inclined to negotiate in good faith if he knows that the United States is engaged in building up its military."