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McCain Campaign Press Release - John McCain's Vision For The Federal Judiciary

May 06, 2008

Today, In North Carolina, John McCain Outlined His Judicial Philosophy And Vision. The proper role of the judiciary has become one of the defining issues of this presidential election. It will fall to the next president to nominate hundreds of qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the impact of these choices will reach far into the future. As President, John McCain will look for accomplished men and women with a proven record of excellence in the law and a proven commitment to judicial restraint to serve on the federal bench.

John McCain's Judicial Philosophy:

John McCain Believes The Presidency Must Serve The Constitution, And Protect The People And Their Liberties. For the chief executive or any constitutional officer, the duties and boundaries of the Constitution are not just helpful suggestions. The clear powers defined by the Constitution, and the clear limits of power have not lost any of their relevance with time.

John McCain Will Bring Care, Thought And Deliberation When Selecting His Judicial Nominees. In return, he expects the Senate to do its part, and confine itself to the duty of confirming qualified men and women for the courts. With his nominees, he will not seek the confidence of the American people until he is certain of his own nominee's ability, wisdom, and demonstrated fidelity to the Constitution.

John McCain Will Look For Accomplished Men And Women With A Proven Record Of Excellence In The Law And A Proven Commitment To Judicial Restraint. John McCain's judicial nominees will be men and women of experience, wisdom and humility who do their work with impartiality and honor. They will have an alert conscience but be immune to flattery and fashionable theory. They will be faithful in all things to the Constitution and understand there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power and federal power.

Judicial Nominees Will Be In The Cast Of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito And The Late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. These are jurists of the highest caliber who know the difference between their own minds and the law.

John McCain Believes The Federal Courts Are Charged With Applying The Constitution And The Laws Of Our Country To Each Case At Hand.

He Is Committed To Restoring The Standards And Spirit That Give The Judicial Branch Its Place Of Honor In Our Government. Every federal court should command respect, and be a refuge from abuses of power. We must have confidence again that no rule applies except the rule of law, and that no interest is served except the interest of justice.

In The Senate, John McCain Took Seriously His Responsibilities In The Judicial Confirmation Process. When President Bill Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to serve on the Supreme Court, he joined all but a few Republicans in voting for their confirmation. These nominees were qualified, and it would have been petty, partisan and disingenuous to insist otherwise. They represented the considered judgment of the President of the United States. John McCain respects the roles and responsibilities of each branch of government, and, above all, the verdicts of elections and judgment of the people.

In His Judicial Philosophy, John McCain Has Deep Differences With Senators Clinton And Obama:

Senators Clinton And Obama Have A Very Different Vision From John McCain For The Role Of The Judiciary. While both lawyers, they do not seem to mind when fundamental questions of social policy are preemptively decided by judges instead of by the people and their elected representatives. They have raised no objections to the unfair treatment of judicial nominees.

For Both Senators Clinton And Obama, Not Even Chief Justice John Roberts Was Good Enough. When Judge Roberts was nominated, Senator Obama especially went right along with the partisan crowd, and was among just 22 senators to vote against this highly qualified nominee. According to Senator Obama's standards, a nominee who was brilliant, fair-minded, learned in the law, and who today is respected by all as the Chief Justice of the United States did not measure up. Neither did Justice Samuel Alito.

Judicial Activism Is Weakening Our Judicial Branch:

In Recent Years, We Have Seen The Common And Systematic Abuse Of Federal Courts By The People We Entrust With Judicial Power. For decades now, some federal judges have taken it upon themselves to pronounce and rule on matters never intended for the courts. Federal judges today issue rulings and opinions on policy questions that should be decided democratically. There is little regard for the authority of the President, Congress, and states. There is even less interest in the people's will.

Judicial Activism Has Spread Confusion In Our Vital National Debates And Leaves Resentment Instead Of Resolution. Activist lawyers and activist judges seek to be spared the inconvenience of campaigns, elections and legislative votes. They do not seek to win debates on the merits of their argument, but by court order. Even in courtrooms, they apply a double standard when some federal judges operate by fiat, shrug off generations of legal wisdom and precedent while expecting their own opinions to go unquestioned. Only their favorite precedents are to be considered "settled law," and everything else is fair game.

Judicial Activism Has Turned Senate Confirmation Hearings Into a Gauntlet of Abuse Where No Tatic Of Abuse Or Delay Is Out Of Bounds. Over the years, advice and consent has given way to caricature, code words, 20 minute questions and two-minute answers, disagreements redefined as disqualifications, and the least infraction of approved doctrine pounced upon by senators, their staffs, and allies in the media. There is suspicion that a nominee will dare be faithful to the framers' clear intentions and the actual meaning of the Constitution.

Today, Lower Court Nominees Are Lucky To Receive A Confirmation Hearing At All. At this moment, there are 31 nominations pending. Because there are so many cases with no judges to hear them, a "judicial emergency" has been declared for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that serves North Carolina. A third of the entire Fourth Circuit is vacant. Yet still in the Senate, months and even years go by while judicial nominees wait for a vote.

John McCain, McCain Campaign Press Release - John McCain's Vision For The Federal Judiciary Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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