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

McCain makes pledge on conservative judges

CNN

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. Anthony-Minneapolis

    THIS IS A MAJOR REASON NOT TO HAVE MCCAIN AS THE NEXT PRESIDENT, SO DEMOCRATS GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, STOP WITH THE FOOLISHNESS YOU HAVE SHOWN OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IS AT STAKE. YOU LOST ALOT OF TIME BY HAVING THIS LONG PRIMARY WHICH HURTS YOU NO MATTER WHAT THE HILLARY PUNDITS SAY, IT HURTS YOUR PARTY DRAMATICALLY.

    JOHN MCCAIN APPOINTS CONSERVATIVE JUDGES TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

    – ROE V WADE – OVERTURNED
    – CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS- OVERTURNED, UNDERMIND
    – CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY-GONE
    – WARRANTLESS WIRE TAPS – THE STATUS QUO
    – ACCEPTANCE OF TORTURE – STATUS QUO
    – BILL OF RIGHTS – USED AS TOILET PAPER FOR SCALIA
    – CONSTITUTION- URINATED AND SHREDDED BY BUSH/CHENEY
    – RENDITION(GOOGLE IT)- STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
    – ELECTION BEING DETERMINED BY COURT- JUDGES DECIDE NOT THE PEOPLE
    – COUNTRY BECOMES A MONARCHY- POWER SHIFTS TO EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL BRANCHES LEAVING THE LEGISLATURE CRIPPLED

    We are in deep crap. Vote democrat no matter what. Remember how Justice Scalia was flippant about the 2000 election and said "GET OVER IT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO" One of the Supreme Court Justices said to the american people about how he and the court undernined the foundation of american society with a judicial decision to place a president in office and how that is the most horrible thing he and the court did in modern US History. WOW!!! PEOPLE WAKE UP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. mitchell

    he will appoint judges that will take away a woman's right to choose.we don't need a government that makes our choices ,for us.no more warmongering presidents!mccain won't stand a chance against obama.

    May 6, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    One more reason why we Dems need to stick together! Even if our candidate can't win the nomination, we should never vote for McSame......

    May 6, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. mimi de la cruz foe OBAMA

    SURE ARE LOSING ONE BUSH & WE WILL ELECT

    ANOTHER WORSE VERSION. WE HAVEN'T DONE

    TOO GOOD IN THE PAST 20 YEARS OR SO WITH

    THIS PRES.THING, BUT WE ARE GETTING BETTER.

    May 6, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. JC

    This makes this conservative liberal happy.
    I can trust Senator McCain with my country.

    One question from a curious naturalized citizen:

    If the executive branch and the judiciary branch are independent of each other, why does the president have the power to appoint federal and supreme court judges?

    I guess the required confirmation by the Congress after presidential nomination is sort of a balanced mechanism. Can we do better than this?

    There were talks about Hillary's intention to appoint Bill to the Supreme Court for life, if she is elected.
    Is this possible? Bill and the laws do not mix. He is not even a Constitutional lawyer. I heard he lost his license to practice law after the impeachment.

    May 6, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Navy Vet.

    All of that is nice, but the problem is that he won't get elected. He's got a tarnished war record, a former minister that makes Wright look like a choir boy, and he represents a 3rd Bush term. Does anyone believe that Sen. Obama is not going to hit him with everything in the aresenal once Sen. Clinton is out of the way? That is the real beauty of it! Sen.'s McCain and Clinton have used every page in the republican playbook to knock Sen. Obama down, and now Sen. McCain will be just rehashing old dirt. Sen. Obama has a clean slate, and a LOT of ammunition to use on the ole' guy. It's a master stroke of genius.
    God I love this!

    May 6, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. JeffRob

    John McCain: "Don't be fooled by the rational, intelligent decisions I sometimes make. When push comes to shove, I'll do everything I can to keep us locked in 1955 forever."

    May 6, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Nicole in NE

    It's funny because so many democrats are saying they will vote for McCain if their person isn't the nominee. Let's get a long look at reality here and decide if this the way Democrats REALLY want to go!

    Don't let something childish get in the way of changing the downward spiral our country is now in!

    VOTE DEMOCRAT!

    May 6, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Dana in north Carolina

    Another reason DEMS need to unite behind one candidate to prevent this. All you dems out there who believe in right to choose, etc. you better be paying attention. All of you minorities who don't want to lose any of the civil rights your parents fought to get for you, you had better be paying attention.

    May 6, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. STOP THE MADNESS

    McCain is only trying to stay in the lime light, but guess what McCanin TODAY AIN'T ABOUT YOU! GET SOMEWHERE AND SIT DOWN!

    May 6, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. mimi de la cruz foe OBAMA

    FORGOT TO LET MCWAR100. THAT IF WE WANT

    A NUT CAKE WE WILL CALL ON HIM.

    AND BY THE WAY THAT WIFE OF HIS IS A DILLIE.

    May 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. john

    just make sure you don't give us a Darth Vader Ginsburg...

    May 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Jedeki

    BTW – even Scalia believes Thomas is a nut

    May 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. tom E

    hmm,
    I am one of those people that is hoping a candidate gets the nomination and if they don't, I will be looking at other options. McCain is a viable option for me...except for this. I don't think we need more conservative justices on the supreme court. We have enough of them there already. We will need someont to replace justice Stevens. Someone who will fill his shoes not someone like Alito.

    Balance on the court best reflects the balance in the US. I don't want someone to base their decisions on the way things were in 1780. I want someone that believes in a living/adjusting constitution

    May 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. cory,fl

    this is a man in one year has changed everything about him self, what is he thinking, from tax cuts to conservatism, he is getting more and more like bush, who ever is giving him his advice needs to stop, he use to be in the middle but now is heading far right

    May 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Dan in CO

    Even in light of this, my preference goes:

    Obama > McCain > Clinton

    No more Bush's, no more Clintons.

    All other concerns are secondary.

    May 6, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Stacy Clarks

    right, because that's what we need.....a conservative nut in the supreme court....can we say let's go back to 1800s!!

    DEMOCRATS IN 08!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Stephany

    Another big reason not to have a republican for president. Democrats rule.

    May 6, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Obama 08

    Just like Clinton...another panderer...promise whatever the people in front of you want to hear..

    May 6, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. mjc

    yes, as some said above this is why we MUST ELECT EITHER DEMOCRAT. to protect the so called balance in the supreme court, or at least restore it. gwb has appointed far right judges, we don't need every seat held by more of these nutjobs.

    May 6, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Scott, Wichita

    Nothing surprising here. Probably a good idea, seeing how the liberals control the legislative branch. If either party ever controls them all, we're in for bad times.

    May 6, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Interesting comment on Hillary...from Huffington Post

    her senior thesis on the radical Chicago community-organizer Saul Alinsky (whose best-known philosophical mantra was, "Whatever works to get power to the people, use it."); and then, during the 1992 presidential campaign and White House years, insured that the thesis was locked up in the Wellesley archives and unavailable to reporters.

    Sound familiar?

    May 6, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Dylan

    All Democrats who foolishly threaten to vote for McCain if their candidate does not become nominee: THIS is what's at stake. A man who will continue to load the highest court in the nation with right-wing ideologues, not to mention an endless war and economy in recession.

    Stop treating this election like a sporting event. There's too much at stake. We simply cannot affort 4 more years of the reckless policies of right-wing administrations.

    May 6, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. tom

    did he remember to take his alzheimers medication, maybe he can be quick in thinking. If not Doc please help Mc Esane

    May 6, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. bernj

    For those Clinton supporters who claim they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee, which he will be, please understand that more neocon federal judges will mean a continued erosion of individual rights and the ideals that make this country great. If you can't get past the color of Obama's skin you deserve exactly what you will get with Bush / McCain. Unfortunately, the rest of us will suffer as well.

    May 6, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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