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. Pandering

    It would be painful to vote for Hillary if she steals the nomination...but I would rather vote for anyone except this gas bag!

    May 6, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Phil-Little Rock

    You mean Clarence Thomas could actually go back to being relegated to 'boy' status? And I'm Black too, so nix on the racism posts, ok?

    May 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Tony - DC

    An ex-Pow is not entitled to the presidency!

    McCain is a blood thirst war monger, a racist, a homophobe, a anti-women's rights, rich white elitist! He's married to his billionheiress Stepford wife who contributes NOTHING to society, so I say to them both. Stick it up you............!

    May 6, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Tony - DC

    Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice = McSAME!

    Wake the hell up America or shut the hell up when things stay the same or get even worse!

    A vote for Obama is a free ride to the White House for McSame and we don't need either.

    Vote Hillary!

    May 6, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. DAN

    He's a politician and he has to say what he has to just like Obama to win. The fact is McCain is a moderate republican who's not too conservative. Once he's elected conservative will be happy just to say that they've kept the white house. But today everyones eyes are on Indiana where Obama says is the tiebreaker, so if he looses will he drop out? he should.

    May 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Dave

    Gotta love all the idiots here who think that having judges that follow the Constitution is a bad thing. If you have a problem with judges that follow the Constitution instead of re-interpreting it there is this little thing called a Constitutional convention. Those would be the proper channels to change something and not appointing left leaning judges who like to re-interpret the document upon which this country is founded. There is now room for re-interpretation since the men who wrote the Constitution left plenty of supporting evidence as to what they meant when they wrote it. Of course to know any of this you might actually have to go read some books about the founders of this country. Which for all the liberal claims of being more educated they sure do like to avoid any discussion on what the founding fathers wrote and what they meant when they wrote the Constitution the way they did.

    May 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. liberals' worst nightmare

    I just read through all the comments and noticed that the MAJORITY of spiteful comments aimed at McCain came from Obama supporters. Here are their names:

    David Goldman for Obama
    Kathleen retired professional w/woman for Obama
    mimi de la cruz foe Obama
    Steve, Madison WI
    I'm sure many other nasty, derogatory comments have popped up since I started typing. This list doesn't even include the people who claim that McCain would send us back to the Dark Ages, or the 1800's, or the 18th century. That is what we call fearmongering!

    Is this the "hope" and "change" we can expect from an Obama presidency?

    May 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Ric

    Democrats for Mc Cain '08!!

    May 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Rick FL

    Justice Alito was confirmed only after the nuclear option was manipulated by the Republican majority. Then, McCain has the audacity to call someone's vote elitist against the nomination. Give me a break–the my way or the highway approach from Republicans was elitist.

    Dem '08

    May 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Alice in Florida

    McCain gets my vote if Obama is the Democratic nominee. Barack stole my Florida vote for Hillary, but he won't steal my November Florida vote for McCain.

    May 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. AJ

    I was ready to jump party lines and vote for McCain of Obama wins the nomination. Now I'll just have to sit at home.

    May 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Tired of it in NY

    Just a comment for Tony-DC. Hey looser you're the wingnut that needs to wake up. She'll be in jail by Nov. because of her upcoming trial into campaign fund raising fraud and you think she's the best option. Get educated looser.

    May 6, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Chris

    This is why any Democrat that would vote for McCain is really not a Democrat!!
    Independant maybe but not a Democrat!!!

    May 6, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. AJ

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

    Leave it to a shrink to endorse a nut!! You are obviously not very good at what you do when you can't even recognize ego in a suit with nothing to offer but rhetoric.

    May 6, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. grant

    Todays CNN quick vote question shows just how stupid the voters for the democrats actually are. You idiots will end up with McBush for Prez.

    May 6, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Nick - Arlington, VA

    CNN, how about you filter out the racism please.

    The Corp May 6th, 2008 11:53 am ET

    Say No to Obama and his band of radicals. And yes, I don't trust his skin color, especially after learning of the wackos he's surrounded himself with. God – Country – Corp!

    May 6, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. SPQR753

    Thanks Sen. McCain,

    We already had 8 years of Geoge W. Bush, we do not need a re-run, or imitators: the ORIGINAL was bad enough!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. JC

    You have to look at the bright side of this election.
    The lines among all three parties, Dem, Republican, and Independent are very blurry.

    This may be the beginning of the end of party politics.
    Perhaps we Americans can again work together for the good of our country, IF and only IF Hillary is not elected. She is dividing the Dem party as we speak.

    May 6, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. JC

    You have to look at the bright side of this election.
    The lines among all three parties, Dem, Republican, and Independent are very blurry.

    This may be the beginning of the end of party politics.
    Perhaps we Americans can again work together for the good of our country, IF and only IF Hillary is not elected. She is dividing the Dem party as we speak.

    May 6, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Matt from Albany

    McCain said Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito "would serve as the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me," highlighting the gap between Republicans and Democrats on the question of who deserves to sit on the nation's highest court. Both justices have established solidly conservative records since President Bush appointed them to the court, and the appointment of just one more conservative on the Supreme Court could tip the balance on questions such as abortion, civil rights, civil liberties and private property.

    "My nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power," McCain told a crowd

    May 6, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Richard

    A vote for Mc Cain does 2 things....
    1. Keeps the Iraq war going
    2. roe v. wade overturned


    NOT ME!

    May 6, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Mike Birmingham, AL


    That's all we need – more conservative judges legislating from the bench.

    Say no to 4 more years of Bush!

    May 6, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. OC - CA - cubanamericanwoman

    TO: Alice in Florida –


    Obama DID NOT steal any votes. BOTH, Hillary and Obama AGREED to the terms. AND, if you did not know.. Obama WAS NOT ON THE BALLOT in Michigan. Now Hillary, of course – not to anyone's surprise – wants to change the rules to suit her. Sorry...
    NOT THIS TIME!!! The fair thing to do at this point is to split all delegates 50/50!!! That's it.

    May 6, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Democrats –

    This is what is going to happen if you switch sides if your candidate doesn't get nominated.



    May 6, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Dems Unite

    THESE are the issues our democratic candidates should be talking about. THIS is what matters, not rev Wright or gas tax holidays that neither of them can implement anyway!

    May 6, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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