Judging John McCain

What will we do with John McCain?

It seems the Senator will say anything to woo conservatives, many of whom worry you’re too – gasp! – liberal for the presidency. Today the Republican vowed to take on the dreaded “activist judge.” You know, the ones who rule in favor of the flamers…

While he didn’t use that particular term, McCain made his message pretty clear:

My nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power. For decades now, some federal judges have taken it upon themselves to pronounce and rule on matters that were never intended to be heard in courts or decided by judges.

Bush-nominated Supreme Court Justice like Sam Alito and John Roberts will “serve as the model” for McCain’s brand of judicial nominee, he said.

This latest right-wing grab reminds us of a conversation we had Friday with Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabin Republicans. We originally asked for some of Sammon’s time to discuss anti-gay McCain pastor pal John Hagee. Sammon told us he “wouldn’t have much to say,” and made good on that promise, saying that McCain “obviously disagrees” with Hagee’s wild assertions, like that God created Katrina to get back at New Orleans, which was prepared to host a gay pride event.

Sammon also spoke of McCain’s “inclusive background” and promised that McCain isn’t “beholden to social conservatives” like President Bush. Sure, McCain’s political life may not be saturated in that particularly frightful conservatism, but he’s sure as shit making a good show of it.

If he’s going to win this election, McCain needs the far-right – a fact he made clear with today’s speech. And, as in all political maneuvers, McCain will inevitably owe favors. (Perhaps they’ll be to his gang of highly anti-homo Attorney General pals, who knows? Regardless, it will happen.)

Apologists may claim that McCain’s simply playing games and definitely doesn’t intend to revive Bush’s ideological culture war, but such an argument rings false. He is, after all, acquiescing to the party’s anti-gay stance.

Even if it is true – that McCain’s simply pandering – wouldn’t you rather have a president who’s honest all the way through the campaign, rather than mouthing the words for repressive party loyalists?

It’s worth noting that Sammon and his Log Cabin comrades have not yet endorsed John McCain, nor do they guarantee they will. The group is, however, having “productive” conversations with the campaign. And they’ve definitely go their work cut out for them.

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  • John Smith

    Senator McCain favors limits to the scope of judicial power. This makes the Senator anti-gay? How?

  • Tom

    “Limited the scope of judicial power” are buzzwords for preventing the expansion of individual rights for marginalized groups.

    Because so many states have passed anti-gay marriage or anti-civil union laws, the next long-term battle front for gay rights such as these will be in the courts. Conservatives know this. There will likely be two vacancies (if not three) on the US Supreme Court during the next administration.

    We need Hillary or Obama in the white house so that a Roberts, Scalia or Alito are not appointed. Democrat judges believe the consitution is an evolving document that changes with our standards of acceptance and decency.

    Conservative/Republican judges are strict constructionist and believe the constitution should be interpreted in the manner of the original authors…thats right, before women, people of color, or other minorities had any rights. From a strict constructionist view, there is no such thing as “gay rights” because they did not exist 200 years ago.

    Electing McCain will be so harmful to gay rights in many ways, this is just one reason.

  • Bill Perdue

    This is bad new indeed about McCain’s judicial appointments. If McCain wins he’ll continue the genocide in Iraq, just like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama promise to do. Even worse, it’s unlikely that his nominees will rule against bigoted laws like DADT and DOMA. Both were signed into law by Dixiecrat Bill Clinton after passing with a crushing majority of yes votes from Congressional Democrats. DADT was even written by another Dixiecrat, Sam Nunn, what was then US Senator from Georgia and who’s now a close advisor of Barack Obama.

    They may not even get to rule on ENDA, either the real version or the one that Barney Frank, Hillary Clintons campaign manager, slashed to ribbons or on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill. The Democrats tossed them in the garbage to prevent Republicans using them as a wedge issue, in spite if the fact that they’re desperately needed.

    Who knows if they’ll keep their promises to revive them? What if they treat them like they treated their 2006 election promise to end the war? The Democrats constantly vote to fund it and refuse to impeach felons like Bush and Cheney.

    No matter who wins, McCain, Clinton or Obama, we lose.

  • John Smith

    The bigger the government, the lesser all our individual rights. Limited judicial power, limited any government power, all are good.

  • John K.

    John Smith:

    Because the type of federal power he wants to limit is the power to strike down anti-gay marriage amendments from state constitutions. That makes him anti-gay.

  • John K.

    John Smith:

    Gay people cannot marry in 49 of 50 states. That is what limited federal power has done for us so far.

  • John K.

    John Smith:

    Mildred Loving died last week. She is the Loving from Loving v. Virginia, the FEDERAL case that struck down about 16 STATE laws against interracial marriage in 1967. A majority of Americans were still opposed to interracial marriage until 1991. Without the Loving, we may STILL have enforceable laws against interracial marriage on the books in some states (I think there are unenforceable laws still on the books in some states). If McCain appoints justices like Roberts, Alito, or Scalia, you can set back the day when we see gay marriage in every state about half a century or so.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    How many Gays will hold their nose and vote for Obama? Probably not enough.

  • Tom

    No, John Smith, limited judical power does not equal less individual rights. In fact, just the opposite is true. One thing that the founders/authors of the constitution had right was the separation of powers. That is, the judiciary acts as a check on excessive governmental powers..or at least it is supposed to.

    Once the judiciary becomes corrupted, politicized and abused by those in power, then the most powerless among us are in the most trouble. Remember, the judiciary holds the key to the jailhouses and the banks.

    If you are a true libertarian, then you want to make sure the judiciary remains independent from politics. In the world we live in now, Democrats do that more than Republicans.

  • John

    I don’t believe Pelosi, Obama, or Hillary. And neither should you. The federal government has been the single biggest obstacle to achieving any kind of progress on gay issues in this country.

    This is the same federal that forbade “known homosexuals” from entering the country until 1991.

    This is the same federal government that gave us DADT and DOMA.

    This is the same federal government that subverts local protections for sexual minorities by specifically passing legislation to allow churches, the military, and “faith-based organizations” to discriminate.

    This is the same federal government that deports gay asylum seekers on the basis that can “avoid” persecution by remaining in the closet.

    This is the same federal government that mandates “abstinence until heterosexual marriage” policies, using DOE funding as a form of extortion against the various states.

    This is the same federal government that drafted gays into military to fight and die in Europe, Korea, and Vietnam. But then discharges the survivors as soon as the war’s over.

    This is the same federal government that has consistently voted (along with the likes of Iran and Saudi Arabia) against every pro-gay United Nations resolution ever proposed.

    I’ll take my chances with the state legislatures, thank you very much. At least at the state level, we have about 15-20 legislatures where we can make some tangible progress. Congress and the WHite House are simply loss causes. I’d be happy if those idiots in Washington would simply leave us alone for once!

  • Mr C

    All I can say is


    As a Gay Male who over 40. The actually possibility in this country of Gay Marriage being legal is NIL.
    And one thing you must remember the person who sits in 1600 Penn Ave NW cannot make those decisions. It’s the house and senate that can. And pray to God they don’t give the states rights to do it, Then its D.O.A
    Then you have the biggest fight of them all. The Supreme Court.

    And after seeing McCain saying on TV today he wants more Supreme Court judges like Alito, and Roberts it is for sure A DEAD ISSUE.

    Us Democrats need to realize fight the real fight come Nov AND it’s not Obama-vs-Clinton

    Please, Please Wake up before it’s too late!

    We’re all sitting here going off on each other with bitter statements on the behalf of the two and they’re all laughing, smiling having backdoor meetings on how to fuse this ticket


  • todd

    McCain is a dead issue. This doddering old coot can hug George Bush until the cows come home – the rabid right will never accept him, and democrats are stupid if they think he’s some kind of independant maverick. He’s a loser.

  • Robert

    Oh Bill Perdue, When are you going to remember me?
    Back in Washington State when you were giving those Socialist “workshops” for fifty cents (that were not worth a nickel) ou made more sence.

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