May 6th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
15 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. Jax

    Al NY NY

    It will NEVER happen. Mainly because McCain is not even a conservative.
    And to answer you other claims
    You think criminals go to the store and buy their weapons? Please maybe if some of those students in V tech were armed the tradegy wouldn't have happened
    This country and gov't was founded by some pretty religious people. In God we Trust, one nation under God etc. It may infringe on your right but you infringe on my rights to say or sing it
    Let's just end competition and put the gov't incharge or our health care since it has worked so well with medicare, social security, our education system etc
    And finally the old rape excuss. You need to check you facts because that number of women who actually become pregnant from being raped is less than 1% and i have no problem with them not wanting to keep but some may choose to keep it

    May 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Shakur

    To all the so-called women democratic voters who will vote for McCain in the general election if their candidtae doesn't win: Just remember this pledge from McCain and cry and weep when your pro-choice rights are totally abolished! Is it worth it to prove a point by not voting for a democrat if your candidate doesn't win?! Get over yourselves and vote democratic even though your first choice did not win. God "help" America if McCain gets in office!

    May 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. emtp JB

    Jax – Where did you learn to speak or write in English or get your a garbage dump?! It does NOT matter how many women become pregnant after being raped...they were violated. I'll bet you think women ask to be raped! I guess you think the new judges should ban abortion so these poor victims of rape are forced to re-live their horror every day of their lives.

    May 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Uncle Sam

    For those who accuse Sen. McCain of being a warmonger, you may be interested in what Sen. Joe Biden said in a recent television interview: "My fellow Democrats may not like to hear me say this, but I know John. He hates war and would do everything he could to get us out of Iraq." Why is Sen. Lieberman, the Democratic VP candidate in 2000 supporting John McCain, even willing to travel with his campaign and speak at the Republican convention? Perhaps it says something about this man, what he stands for, and what he is willing to die for.

    Americans for McCain '08

    May 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Jeanne

    I hope McCain realizes that most Americans are moderate and it would be to his advantage to nominate moderate judges to the bench, should he become president. The center is the place to be on this issue.

    May 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Kate

    If this quack gets his hands on Supreme Court nominees, this country is headed for worse troubles. I respect McCain for his service to the military but I do not want him for president. Talk about out of touch? Hello, the man is 72 years OLD! Personally, I think if you are over the age of 65, you shouldn't even think about running. Retire and live happily ever after. Leave running the country to the able bodied and well minded.

    May 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Al, NY NY

    As long as McCain blindly follows the NRA's lead, we will never have any kind of check to see who is buying guns. And your criminal comment doesn't hold alot of water either. Gun shows, stores regularly ignore rules and since the NRA and their minions say no background check, yes to immediate purchase, there are a lot of guns that should not be out there but are. When I talk about competition I mean the oil companies obscene profits and drug and health insurance companies always RAISING $ while denying the admission of cheaper substitutes. There are certainly democrats that won't do anything about it but the GOP has the lock. As for prayer, just what was the religious make-up of this country at it's onset? How many buddhists, jews, muslims were here? NONE of any consequential amount, if any. Therefore the founders could put in their own prayers and it wouldn't matter. Two hundred + years later this country is NOT all christian and therefore having preacher Clem say "Bow down to Jesus your lord and savior" at the ball game is not only ridiculous but discriminatory. UNLESS you allow all the other groups that attend these events to say their own. OK? Let's let the Iman, the Rabbi and the Monk get up in some Texas/Alabama/Idaho town and say something. You'll surely see a sight as BillyBob, Brandine and the rest of the kin raise h#$* I noticed that you did not address my no contract, no accountability job award comment. Halliburton and the rest of Duhbya's buddies have made billions with no one watching over them

    May 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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