You can expect to see that headline if John McCain wins the Presidency.
It is no secret that the non-”activist judges” on the Supreme Court are the older ones, and it is no secret that there could be two, maybe even three appointments over the next 4 years. And it is also no secret that McCain has been pandering to those who want to erode the Constitution further – ironically in the name of “strictly interpreting it”.
One of the more difficult things that face Democrats and progressives is to undo the “maverick” and “moderate” brand that McCain has spent decades building and crafting. There are mountains of evidence, hundreds of votes, countless comments, actions and people that he has closely aligned himself with – yet he is STILL though of as more likely to reach across the aisle and more likely to effectively work with the other party than Obama.
There are millions of independent or moderate voters who don’t know The real McCain and are unable to or unwilling to accept the cold hard reality that he is precisely the opposite of the carefully crafted persona that he is perceived to have.
I’ve been doing a lot of opposition research and writing about McCain over the past few months, and have been trying to figure out (as have many others) what the best way to rebrand him, convince uninformed voters about, and get information out regarding him. There are a lot of ways – there is the ties to lobbyists, there is the “double talk”, there is the “bomb bomb bomb Iran”, the “100 years in Iraq”, the Hagee endorsement, the “angry and unstable” approach, the “third Bush term” approach and there is the approach of using his words and votes against him.
As we all know, McCain is a highly flawed candidate in so many ways. And while some of these are better than others to convince people of just what John McCain is all about, there hasn’t been nearly enough focus on what he would do with the Supreme Court and how drastically his preferred choices would restrict personal privacy and freedoms as well as expand corporate secrecy, executive power and erode the Church/State separation.
The attack is simple: McCain’s ideal SCOTUS would take away your privacy and expand his.
We have his own words to back this up as well. Just as Bush used code words in talking to his “base”, McCain has done the same. Back in January, McCain said the following to Byron York:
“Let me just look you in the eye,” McCain told me. “I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible], and I am proud of my record of working to get them confirmed, and people who worked to get them confirmed will tell you how hard I worked.”
Clones of Roberts and Alito. The two SCOTUS justices who have driven the Court further to the right than any other Court in recent memory. Alito – one who was all for the unauthorized strip searching a ten year old girl during a search that was only authorized for her father and his home. Roberts, who thinks that parolees who are not in violation of their parole can be searched without any cause or suspicion. And both, who think that mentally ill should be able to receive the death penalty – just to name a few cases.
Let’s also remember that McCain voted for every single one of Bush’s judicial appointees, and that the court he is looking to expand has done the following things in a short period of time:
in just three years the Roberts Court has crippled school-desegregation efforts (and hinted that affirmative action may be next); approved a federal law that bans a form of abortion; limited the reach of job-discrimination laws; and made it more difficult to challenge the mixing of church and state.
Besides the fact that this is the very definition of “activist judges” or “legislating from the bench”, the SCOTUS that McCain wants to see will continue to erode personal freedoms and rights. Not only that, but McCain also cited Scalia as a “model” of who he would select.
Scalia – the most extreme of the Justices – one who approves of torture and one who, unlike Thomas (who I may disagree with on nearly everything but is at least relatively consistent in his decision making process) is highly hypocritical in his views and decisions and has a long history of not supporting personal rights and freedoms.
This is the reality – the Constitution has been eroded on a tremendous scale by the Bush administration, and abetted in no small part by Scalia, Alito and the Roberts SCOTUS. John McCain’s dream is to pack and stack the Court with more Justices that will eliminate or erode personal rights and freedoms under the Bill of Rights, whether it be the First, Fourth or Eight amendments, whether it be in the area of a woman’s right of privacy, whether it be intruding into people’s personal lives or expanding Executive power and secrecy (as Scalia has already proven when he protected Cheney and his secret energy commission, despite being duck hunting buddies).
For me, this is the biggest reason to make sure that McCain does not win in November. It is bad enough that we have to deal with a couple of decades of Roberts and Alito and Thomas and Scalia. To add two or three more Justices to this draconian line of thinking will be devastating to the future and direction of this country.