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FLASHBACK: In 2008, McCain Said That Judicial Appointments Are The ‘President’s Call’

By Ian Millhiser  

"FLASHBACK: In 2008, McCain Said That Judicial Appointments Are The ‘President’s Call’"

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john-mccain-confusedOn Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) warned that Republicans are in a “very, very deep hole that we’ve got to come out of” with Latino voters, but he waited just 24 hours after making that statement to come out against the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court. He claims that he opposes “activist judges,” yet he is effusive in his praise of right-wing justices who routinely impose their own ideological views on the law.

Similarly, now that President Obama is in the White House, McCain feels comfortable opposing the President’s well-qualified first nominee to the Supreme Court. But in 2008, when McCain thought he might be president, he sang a very different tune:

When President Bill Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to serve on the high court, I voted for their confirmation, as did all but a few of my fellow Republicans. Why? For the simple reason that the nominees were qualified, and it would have been petty, and partisan, and disingenuous to insist otherwise. Those nominees represented the considered judgment of the president of the United States. And under our Constitution, it is the president’s call to make… It is part of the discipline of democracy to respect the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government, and, above all, to respect the verdicts of elections and judgment of the people. Had we forgotten this in the Senate, we would have been guilty of the very thing that many federal judges do when they overreach, and usurp power, and betray their trust.

In fairness to McCain, it may be premature to criticize the senator for opposing Sotomayor. After all, the Senate is not expected to vote on her confirmation until Thursday evening, and who knows how many times John McCain will change his mind between now and then?

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