Supreme Court: A solid GOP avenue of attack Posted by: McQ
on Monday, May 19, 2008
Whether or not you're a huge McCain supporter or, like me, find very little to like about the man politically - except he's not Barack Obama - one thing voters should keep in mind is one of these guys is going to be appointing Supreme Court justices next term.
According the the LA Times, McCain's position on such appointees is:
Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.), in a speech two weeks ago, echoed the views of conservatives who say "judicial activism" is the central problem facing the judiciary. He called it the "common and systematic abuse . . . by an elite group . . . we entrust with judicial power." On Thursday, he criticized the California Supreme Court for giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, saying he doesn't "believe judges should be making these decisions."
I'm not sure McCain has it right on the CA Supreme Court ruling. But being a politician he's using it, whether proper or not, to underline his point about judicial activism because it is fresh in the news and is a hot-button issue for his base. But his primary point, as I understand it, is he wants constitutionalists on the court, not activists. He wants justices who understand their job and its limits (although with some of the legislation he's sponsored and passed, you have to wonder how committed he is to that premise).
On the other hand, you have Barack Obama:
Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) said he was most concerned about a conservative court that tilted to the side of "the powerful against the powerless," and to corporations and the government against individuals. "What's truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves," he said in response to McCain.
During one campaign stop, Obama spoke admiringly of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the former California governor who led the court in the 1950s and '60s, when it struck down racial segregation and championed the cause of civil rights.
Obama has also praised current Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter. "I want people on the bench who have enough empathy, enough feeling, for what ordinary people are going through," Obama said.
Not their job. But if there was ever an invitation to judicial activism, you've just read it.
I mentioned previously that one avenue of attack open to the Republicans is Obama's overall inexperience in national security and foreign affairs. There difference is both distinct and radical and Republicans should exploit it ruthlessly.
Supreme Court appointments provide another such opportunity to draw distinct and telling differences. They provide another solid avenue of attack that avoids the minefield of softer issues such as character, associations and judgment (while speaking to all of the obliquely) and all the problems attacking them brings.
Let's see if the GOP figures this out and does what is necessary to plant those seeds of doubt about Obama and the Court in the coming months. Frankly, coupled with national security and foreign affairs, it should provide more than enough election year torpedoes necessary to sink the Obama ship before it reaches port.
[A]s he read the legal arguments, the 68-year-old moderate Republican was drawn by memory to a long ago trip he made with his European immigrant parents through the American South. There, the signs warning “No Negro” or “No colored” left “quite an indelible impression on me,” he recalled in a wide-ranging interview Friday.
“I think,” he concluded, “there are times when doing the right thing means not playing it safe.”
Not their job. But if there was ever an invitation to judicial activism, you’ve just read it.
I’m not sure I understand how that changes the dynamic in any meaningful way. After all, Obama’s followers see judicual activism as a positive, and those set against Obama see such activism as a negative.
Is there really that much in the way of swing votes left?
I agree that the USSC seems a fair reason to conservatives to vote for McCain, even absent any other reason. McCain is already on record as wanting to use Alito and John roberts as models for future appointments.
(Then again, the fly in that soup of republicans and ostensibly conservative appointments seems to look a lot like David Souter.)
Obama has also praised current Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter. "I want people on the bench who have enough empathy, enough feeling, for what ordinary people are going through,"
Like the ordinary Americans who had their houses torn up for "public use" by a private pharmaceutical company? Oh, wait, those 3 justices all voted to leave those ordinary Americans to fend for themselves.
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