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Thursday, January 31, 2008
posted by Kyle Hampton | 10:22 AM | permalink
Robert Novak confirms what John Fund said last week: McCain has serious reservations about conservative jurists like Justice Alito. Novak writes:

I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other.
As I said last week in response to Fund’s assertion:
As for the judges, this is truly disturbing. Alito is no Ann Coulter, a provacative figure that takes pleasure in deriding McCain's friends across the aisle. He is a thoughtful and intelligent jurist whose measured approach has been a model of restraint. To say that Alito wears his conservatism on his sleeve is just patently false. If Alito's conservatism is worn on his sleave, there are few conservatives that do not.

Moreover, this issue gets at the question of McCain's ability to judge the judicial philosophy of judicial nominees. If Alito's conservatism is too provacative, principled jurists like Scalia and Thomas would certainly be excluded. We have had many Republican presidents who have been unable to distinguish between conservative and liberal jurists. President Eisenhower nominated two of the most liberal judges (Warren and Brennan) the court has ever had. Gerald Ford nominated Justice Stevens. Bush 41 famously got "Soutered" by one of his picks to the Supreme Court. All of these misteps have further entrenched liberal ideology and seriously hindered true conservative change.

Ed Morrissey over at Captain's Quarters says this:
This actually makes it slightly worse. The Fund quote implied that McCain wouldn't appoint an Alito because he thought Alito was too overtly conservative. Novak's report shows that it wasn't Alito's overtness, but his conservatism that McCain found unattractive. That won't help convince conservatives to trust McCain on judicial nominations.

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