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. John

    Sign.....Another McCain flip-flop.....All positioning, no principle...

    May 6, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. David in Chicago

    It looks like his skin is falling off of his face lol

    May 6, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Frank

    It seems no one here making comments has a clue about what the United States of America is.
    We are a nation, first and foremost forged from the crucible of men desiring to live free, but under a constitution necesary to maintain law and moral decency. The framers were well aware of the need for free men to be 'controlled' only in the sense that, they (we) are allowed to utilize our God given, Preamble explained, Bill of Rights articulated and Constitutionally realized rights.
    John McCain just gave us all a thumbnail sketch on what is America and what we are supposed to be as Americans.
    Alas ... so many in this once magnaminously blessed land have forgotten, perhaps have never learned, that our very personal liberty and freedom(s) have been used to usurp our rights and land ... and now, after a messenger has reminded us ... some will shoot the messenger.
    Not one station carried McCain's speech start to finish.
    We'd best be ready to repeat the history that got us here.

    May 6, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Veteran in Kansas

    After 8 years of Bush and his deconstruction of the American Constitution all we need is 4 more years of the same.

    While I respect McCain as a Veteran, it ends there. Democrats and Independence must support who ever the Democratic canidate is in the general election.

    But do understand, Clinton has a better chance to beat McCain the Obama.

    May 6, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Steve, Madison WI

    Another "flip-flop" by McCain. Can he pander anymore to the conservative base that he has gone against so many times in the past.

    I understand that many conservatives have short memories and rely on Faux Noise for their daily talking points, but come on, McCain has a LONG record on these topics. If CNN would kindly talk about this rather than itself pander to the tabloid journalism seeking crowd, we may actually elect a president who is not a flip-flopping, pandering puppet for corporate America.

    CNN and the rest of the corporate media have failed as news organizations. Want proof – do a poll and ask Americans to identify the candidates positons on healthcare, the economy, the war, etc. My guess is a very small percentage could correctly name the candidates positions (and certainly not their past voting records on such things!)

    No wonder we end up with the representaives we do – shame on all the media and shame on the American people for remaining uninformed.

    May 6, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. KMAN

    Yes, John McCain ... maverick, principled man of character ... yeah right!!! This old fool is just like Hillary in that he will say and do anything to win ... America doesn't need either of these pandering overtly partisan politicians as the leader of the nation! They both represent the worst of America's old, tired and worthless political system!

    May 6, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Politics As Usual

    It is simply amazing a man who thinks adultry is acceptable but abortion is disgraceful. I call it hypocritical.

    May 6, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. David

    It seems a shame to spend millions on this guy. His presidency is beyond "unlikely."

    May 6, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Matt

    And this is the exact reason why anyone, man or woman, who belives in pro-choice and is considering voting against Barack Obama because he is the Dem. nominee and not Hillary should really REALLY think hard before making that choice. If you do go with McCain, BYE BYE Roe v. Wade.

    May 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. DoneWithDems

    CNN is a regular liberal lovefest. The blogs are choking with their rhetoric. Most of it rather hateful. How come conservatives that come here don't jump in the ring I wonder. Different breed maybe?

    Some of this stuff is amusing but really people is this the agressive nature we will see if a dem takes the prize? I thought you were a bunch of peace lovers.

    You people scare me......

    May 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. ABG

    Thanks Senator McCain! You sealed the deal for me. I will vote for the Democratic candidate!

    Also, what have you done for AZ lately?

    May 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Steve, Madison WI

    Hey Allen DeLuca,

    Great job with the "proven conservative principles" over the last 8 years! Obviously, I am so much better today then I was when Clinton was in office. Now go back and watch some more Fox News while you drink your daily kool-aid from Rush, Hannity and O'Reilly.

    May 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. aliou salam Florida

    That's why we can't afford mcWar.

    Obama 08

    May 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Ian

    I thought McCain wasn't able to be elected anyway, due to the fact that he wasn't born in the U.S.

    The laws clearly state that you have to be born IN the U.S., not just be a citizen.

    Moving on.

    May 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Dave

    We need calling McCain "Monte Hall".

    May 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Pam

    Oh, he will change his mind tomorrow!!

    May 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Dan in CO

    John Roberts isn't a "far right judge".

    May 6, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    After more madness, that is all we need more madness.

    To you social conservatives, Roe vs Wade will NEVER be changed, it is the blindfold they use to herd you while they get your vote, at the same time taking your rights away and giving it to big business.

    The ONLY reason those conservative judges are put there is to protect big business. Don't take my word for it, just go back do your own research in cases where there were clashes between individual people vs big business.

    Do you know that these conservative judges have voted that a business is considered an individual? A business has my rights in the eyes of the government, and gaining more every day, while I lose them.

    May 6, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Rob

    If she thinks it will get her votes in a primary, Hillary will agree to appoint right wing judges too.

    May 6, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Tina

    I dont' have time for McSame now.

    May 6, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Make a choice between McCain and War. Which would you chose?

    May 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. Jimbo in ND

    Well, I'd like to see Obama as the nominee, and if Hil-liar gets the nod I would have voted for McCain - except for pledging another Scalia on the court.

    If it's mendacity vs McCain, I'll write in Colin Powell for pres.

    May 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Why Sen McCain is upset, Sen OBAMA can support who he want to this is America. GO OBAMA

    May 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. TEO

    Seriously people, the dems have controlled cogress the last 4 years and congress determines what is presented to the pres. now how are we making out? Let's not get focused on party crap let's pick people that aren't subserving to the big donors and lobyist. Sounds to me Barak is the only choice and more like him in congress would certainly hep also.
    just one reason why i'm an independent.

    May 6, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |




    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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