For those who missed John McCain’s speech on the judiciary yesterday, this video gives the best look at the attack segment of the address at Wake Forest University. McCain emphasized that his opponents would take radically different approaches to judicial appointments and how destructive that would be to the balance of power as structured in the Constitution. McCain also went after both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for their “elitism”:
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. Nor have they raised objections to the unfair treatment of judicial nominees.
For both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, it turned out that not even John Roberts was quite good enough for them. Senator Obama in particular likes to talk up his background as a lecturer on law, and also as someone who can work across the aisle to get things done. But when Judge Roberts was nominated, it seemed to bring out more the lecturer in Senator Obama than it did the guy who can get things done. He went right along with the partisan crowd, and was among the 22 senators to vote against this highly qualified nominee. And just where did John Roberts fall short, by the Senator’s measure? Well, a justice of the court, as Senator Obama explained it — and I quote — should share “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”
These vague words attempt to justify judicial activism — come to think of it, they sound like an activist judge wrote them. And whatever they mean exactly, somehow Senator Obama’s standards proved too lofty a standard for a nominee who was brilliant, fair-minded, and learned in the law, a nominee of clear rectitude who had proved more than the equal of any lawyer on the Judiciary Committee, and who today is respected by all as the Chief Justice of the United States. Somehow, by Senator Obama’s standard, even Judge Roberts didn’t measure up. And neither did 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.
Yesterday, Barack Obama tried to push back against the charge of elitism, claiming that he and Michelle’s upbringing came a lot closer to the normal American experience than either McCain or Hillary Clinton. However, both Obamas wound up attending Ivy League universities, and both of them moved very quickly into the power elite of the Left. McCain grew up in the Navy, not in wealth and largesse, and served for decades in the armed forces before entering political life. And McCain didn’t fawningly endorse the snobbish view of middle America held by denizens of Billionaires Row in San Francisco in a private fundraiser.
Oddly, Obama wants to base elitism in money, while the rest of us see it in attitude. In America, one does not have to be born into an elite; one can join its membership by hard work and ambition. Barack Obama of all people should understand that.
McCain needs to press this point hard in the upcoming campaign. What kind of justices would Obama appoint? Would they be the kind that William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn would approve, or perhaps Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy, who were two of only 20 Democrats to join Obama in opposing John Roberts?