Monday, January 28, 2008

Will McCain Compromise on Supreme Court Candidates? [Serge]

As the election season continues upon us, the Republican candidates are often portrayed as consistently pro-life with the exception of Guliani. This may be true for the candidate's views individually, but far more important is the candidate's ability to render change in the makeup of SCOTUS. That is the roadblock that we face, and we need to judge the candidate's ability to be courageous enough to nominate strong pro-life judges.

It is for this reason that I am surprised that John McCain has not taken more criticism, especially his involvement with the so-called "gang of fourteen". If you recall, the Democrats had taken to filibustering many conservative judicial nominations. The Republicans were threatening the "nuclear option" in order to force the Democrats to allow these nominees a vote. Remember that the issue was not to force the Democrats to confirm these nominees, but to merely allow the senate to vote on confirmation.

McCain was a leader in the compromise that ended the fight. He got the moderate Democrats to allow the full senate to vote on 3 judges, but also allowed them to continue to filibuster 2 additional judges. He also got the Democrats to agree to nit filibuster unless there were "extraordinary circumstances".

In other words, in a political situation where the Republicans had the presidency and both houses of Congress, McCain felt he needed to throw two conservative judges under the bus in order to allow a mere vote on the other three. Furthermore, the pledge to not use a filibuster only under extraordinary situations fell apart when two of the members of the "gang of fourteen" failed to vote for cloture for Brett Kavanaugh, who still received a vote and was later confirmed to the bench.

If McCain felt the need to compromise in a situation where the Republicans held the majority, how confident can we be that he will not feel the need to compromise his judicial nominations if he becomes president? Compromise may be a great strategy if you are a long-term senator who seems to enjoy drawing attention to himself, but as our chief executive and leader, his past record is troubling.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who's going to nominate a pro-life judge isn't a judicial conservative. The political views of the judge shouldn't be the issue, or the GOP president will be no better than Democratic presidents have been at nominating judicial conservatives. John Paul Stevens is pro-life, as far as I can tell. He just thinks the Constitution allows for people to do something he believes to be wrong. We don't want judges who will legislate from the bench. We want judges who recognize that there is no legal right to abortion in the Constitution.

    This has always been McCain's view, and I have no doubt that he would nominate judges he believes to be judicial conservatives in exactly this way.

    As for the Gang of 14, here's what they agreed to. They agreed not to filibuster some of the controversial nominees, which McCain had never intended to do, on the condition that they not be expected to vote for some of the most controversial of the Bush nominees. Some of them did go to bat for some of the controversial ones, and McCain was one of them. There was one that he didn't, and it was because that nominee had been part of crafting the Bush Administration's torture doctrine. It's not surprising that McCain would oppose him, and it had nothing to do with pro-life or pro-choice concerns.

    Basically McCain was part of the group in order to get more of Bush's conservative nominees through. If you don't like that, then don't like it, but please don't pretend it's because he's not a judicial conservative or that his own appointees would be like David Souter or John Paul Stevens. There's no evidence of any such thing and much evidence that his nominees will be like most of Bush's.

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