With numerous federal benches free and an aging Supreme Court, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain told a Wake Forest University crowd on Tuesday that he pledges to nominate conservative judges to the federal courts and the Supreme Court when elected President.”Senators Obama and Clinton have very different ideas from my own. They are both lawyers themselves, and don’t seem to mind at all when fundamental questions of social policy are preemptively decided by judges instead of by the people and their elected representatives,” McCain told the college crowd.
“My nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power.”
As opposed to liberal judges, conservative justices are primarily concerned with the original intended meaning of the law, and typically fail to find relatively modern “rights” to abortion or homosexual “marriage” in the Constitution.
McCain specifically chided Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama for supporting liberal activist judges rather than Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
“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,” said McCain.
The Obama campaign expressed fear that McCain’s judicial appointments will challenge hallowed liberal values, including access to abortion.
“The Straight Talk Express took another sharp right turn today as John McCain promised his conservative base four more years of out-of-touch judges that would threaten a woman’s right to choose, gut the campaign finance reform that bears his own name, and trample the rights and interests of the American people,” said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.
The Obama campaign’s main Democratic rival echoed Vietor’s displeasure with McCain’s promise.
Hillary Clinton campaign Policy Director Neera Tanden criticized McCain for supporting “extreme conservative judges like Justice [Clarence] Thomas.”
“In an effort to pander to conservative voters, Sen. McCain has signaled his intention to appoint right-wing judges who are committed to rolling back women’s rights and civil rights, elevating the interests of big business over the rights of workers and consumers, affirming executive branch power grabs, and undermining our common core freedoms,” Tanden added.
McCain gave concrete examples of the sort of judges he would support.
“I will look for people in the cast of John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and my friend the late William Rehnquist, They would serve as the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me.”
While the full implications of McCain’s nominations are uncertain, the presidential hopeful has connected conservative judicial restraint with the pro-life cause in the past.
“The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures,” said McCain of the April 2007 Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on partial-birth abortion.