Rick Perry says he hasn't memorized the names of the nine Supreme Court justices, and if voters want a robot who can spit out that kind of information, they should look elsewhere.
I don't have memorized all of the Supreme Court judges, he told Fox News on Sunday, before asserting that the American people aren't looking for a robot that can spit out the name of every Supreme Court justice or someone that's going to be perfect in every way. They're looking for somebody who's got values.
His statement came after an apparent gaffe on Friday in an interview with The Des Moines Register's editorial board, in which he referred to eight unelected and, frankly, unaccountable judges. There are nine justices on the Supreme Court.
Perry's campaign said later that he had been referring to the eight justices who ruled in the Abington School District v. Schempp decision in 1963 that school-sponsored Bible reading was unconstitutional. The vote in that case was 8-1. But, although he made the eight justices comment while discussing the issue of prayer in schools, he did not actually mention that specific case until several minutes later.
In the Des Moines Register interview, Perry singled out Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's two nominees, as activist judges -- but he struggled to remember Sotomayor's name, eventually coming up with Montemayor.
Perry added that, in his view, it was not the Supreme Court's job to rule on school prayer at all.
I happen to believe that that would be a local decision, and that's not the Supreme Court's business to be telling Americans how and when to pray, he said, adding that he would support a constitutional amendment that allows children to pray in school anytime that they'd like.