May 6th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain makes pledge on conservative judges


Watch clips from John McCain's speech Tuesday.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain moved to shore up his support among conservatives by pledging Tuesday to nominate strict-constructionist judges to the federal bench.

"It will fall to the next president to nominate hundreds of qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the choices we make will reach far into the future," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said during a speech at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

"My two prospective opponents and I have very different ideas about the nature and proper exercise of judicial power," he said, referring to Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "We would nominate judges of a different kind, a different caliber, a different understanding of judicial authority and its limits."

Many conservative members are suspect of McCain on the issue of judges because of his involvement in 2006 in the so-called Senate "gang of 14." That bipartisan group of senators sought to reach a consensus on President Bush's judicial appointees, blocking some of the president's most conservative nominations while promising to confirm others.

The group formed after the then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to remove the ability to filibuster judicial nominations after Democratic senators blocked a number of President Bush's nominees.

McCain also directly criticized Obama for not voting to confirm Justice Samuel Alito, saying the Illinois senator's justification of that decision sounded like it was written by an "activist judge."

"Apparently, nobody quite fits the bill except for an elite group of activist judges, lawyers, and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it – and they see it only in each other," McCain said of Obama.

In response to McCain's speech, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said the Arizona senator has a "radical, right wing judicial philosophy."

"It's clear he's the wrong choice to safeguard that future," Dean also said. "No matter how far they have gone to restrict our fundamental rights or their clear records of gutting the reforms John McCain claims to care about, he has put loyalty to his party and a radical agenda ahead of the American people."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Griff

    Well you're Processor is a little slow these day's, but the Memory stored is Priceless. Back to Basic's....

    May 6, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. David

    Ok, that's nica and all. Just make sure they follow the Constitution. I just really hate McCain is the GOP candidate. This is a horrible election year for POTUS. McCain and whoever the last one standing of the two Dem jerks. It is just a shame the GOP has been hijacked by neo-cons and does not represent the true GOP. This party must be taken back by all means necessary.

    May 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Larry

    The 'real' McCain is beginning to surface.

    May 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Drew

    who's this guy? I thought the election was between HRC and BHO?

    May 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. After further review,Texas

    Promising to stack the deck John?Pro Big Business and the Right Wing Zealots?Not this time my friend.

    May 6, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Robert

    Let us not be fooled. The guys Bush and McCain want on the bench are activist judges, only when Republicans do it, it ain't activism. They want to undo the 20th Century. Folks who aren't in the privileged set need to think about what that means.

    May 6, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Women for Obama

    Oh, dear Lord! Please do not let this man get elected! He sees no reason to change the direction of this war, he has admitted that he doesn't really understand the economy, he said that this foreclosure problem is the fault of stupid homeowners, and now he has vowed to put more conservative, out-of-touch judges in place. This country is going to hell in a handbasket!

    The runaway train is now headed directly toward the cliff!

    Please vote Dem in November. Vote Obama '08.

    May 6, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. andrew s

    same old, same old. wake up america do not let his war hero title trick you into third term for bush

    May 6, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Bob

    No worries...McCain won't be appointing anyone.

    May 6, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Haley Rodman Clemson

    McCain's pledge is not for conservative judges but for strict CONSTITUTIONAL judges. He berates the left-leaning activist judges who inject their social agendas into their rulings. If sticking to the letter of the constitution is conservative, then what is the liberal way of judging? Disregarding the constitution or believing it is a "living, breathing document" (i.e. subject to the whims of leftist fads).

    May 6, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Ralph V.

    Zzzzzzzzzzz!! Snore!

    May 6, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Pat Huntington NY

    This is the reason why all Democrats, Hillary and Obama supporters, MUST unite behind who ever our nominee will be.

    May 6, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Johnny Boy

    If this old fart is allowed to fill the supreme court with his cronies, we will revert to the dark ages people.

    May 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Jedeki

    McCain wants to add another Samuel Alito or Clarence Thomas. Do we really want more justices that believe corporations have more rights than individuals and do whatever they are told by the Republicans?

    May 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. David

    "Sen. John McCain moved to shore up his support among conservatives by pledging Tuesday to nominate strict-constructionist judges to the federal bench"

    It wil be funny to see how many people freak out over putting "strict-constructionist judges" on the bench. What other type would you want? A judge that makes it up as he/she feels??? So start the freak-out.

    Oh yea, just remember that the DNC (O and Hillary too) dicided not to count the vote of the people in two states and also made up Supers to overrule the people if they get it wrong.

    May 6, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Dennis

    And now the debate begins on issues and policies. After the last several months of reality tv that we have gotten from cable news organizations instead of news on issues that matters, I hope the general election will not be a carbon copy of the democratic primary. One could hope, right?

    May 6, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Joker

    McCain is nothing but a phony just another Bush!

    May 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. COL.{retd]A.M.Khajawall

    Dear Fellow Americans,

    Our Great-grand Nation, the United States of America
    is and will face very critical and substantial
    "Challenges" in coming,
    months, years, and decades to come.
    It is very essential that we pick out our next
    President on following criteria in mind.

    1. A candidate with "Vision and Mission".

    2. A candidate with " Stable Character and Integrity"

    3. A candidate with "Presidential Temperament" and
    "stable Judgment".

    4. A candidate with "little "Washington" exposure"
    "real connectedness with New Voters".

    5. A candidate who "Inspires us up" rather than
    "Tears us down".

    6. A candidate not based on sexism, racism, and

    In my professional and personal opinion, the only
    candidate who has the above qualities and
    characteristics and is also cool, calm, and collected
    is Senator Obama.

    As an independent registered voter since 1980. I voted
    for Carter, voted for Reagan, voted for First Bush,
    and second Bush in 2000 and In the process last
    interest in Washington politics as usual and I
    stopped voting.Not a good idea under any circumstance
    particularly at present.

    This time we can not afford to stay on side lines and
    let Washington stay the same.We can not afford our
    Greatgreat Nation to become less than what we are and
    can be.

    We need to send clear and candid message to the world
    and some 24 hour partisan hateful media. These media
    outlets are trying to deprive, dupe, and derail us
    from getting it right this time.

    They are trying there best to deny us better rather
    than bitter future. { Our Greatgrand Nations people
    are persistently and constantly subjected to
    Psychological terrorism" without their knowledge thru
    these hateful partisan media outlets.

    We Americans are should not and would not to allow
    psychologically terrorized, traumatized and silence us
    this time.

    I am sure that we will get it right this
    time and elect Senator Obama our next President. let
    us not get dragged down into racism, sexism and

    Let us remember that our Greatgrand is constituted of
    family, friends,fellowships, faith, funds,foundation,
    fun, and future with fairness and freedom and without
    fear or favor.

    We can not afford to lose any of above. Let us stand
    up, be counted, save, build our Greatgrand Nation for
    centuries to come and regain our world economic, and
    power status back.

    God Bless our Great grand Nation and its diverse

    Our Greatgrand nation needs present and future
    stability, security, safety,sustained progress and
    restoration of our due status in this perilous Global
    World at the all levels.

    Yours sincerely,

    COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall
    Forensic Psychiatrist.
    Disables American Veteran.
    Las Vegas Nevada.

    May 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA





    May 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Diing

    Senator McCain has to be cautious so as not to alienate the independents. The last two sentences are unnnecessary and illogical!

    May 6, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Over 70% of Canada supports Obama

    Senator McCain really relies on the use of a teleprompter. He's lost when it comes to public speaking without one. I can't wait to hear how lost he sounds without one when the debates begin between he and Obama.

    May 6, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. David Goldman for OBAMA




    May 6, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    This man is a total idiot. He reads off the teleprompter all of the time and doesn't even get that right.

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for McCain. I read that if Hillary can't win
    now, she would rather McCain to win so She Witch and Bill can

    McCain even sounds "fake" when he is reading off the teleprompter
    and talking about "poor america! HE DON'T GIVE A HOOT OR KNOW

    white woman, retired professional, for Obama from Day 1

    May 6, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Anonymous

    so instead of touring america and getting his name out and meeting with people he does this, thank god, what a dumb move, why put a target on your back

    May 6, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Deb

    After spending 20 years in Rev. Wright’s church, especially the Child endangerment of taking their two little girls makes Obama unsuited to represent Americans with the Moral decisions that will come up over the next 4 years!

    Hillary or McCain 08

    May 6, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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