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The McCain Court


THE PROSPECT of overturning Roe v. Wade may be only incentive powerful enough to turn a disillusioned conservative into a motivated McCain voter this November. After the betrayals of the Bush era, many on the Right still point to the ascendance of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court and proclaim, "It was worth it." Campaigning across the country, McCain promises conservative audiences, "We're going to have justices like Roberts and Alito." And Sen. John Cornyn told the New York Times that judges "are the one issue that cuts across all aspects of the Republican coalition," saying that in the run up to November, "I will encourage him to make it a prominent part of his pitch."Republicans wagering that McCain will build a more conservative judiciary should pause over recent reports that he may not be enthusiastic about [Bush]'s appointments after all. John Fund wrote in the Wall Street Journal that McCain has said he was happy with John Roberts, but might "draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because 'he wore his conservatism on his sleeve.'" While the McCain campaign vigorously denied the allegation, Robert Novak confirmed it in his column using different sources. In a private chat with conservative jurists, one lawyer asked McCain, "Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" McCain answered, "Well, certainly Roberts," before expressing his doubts about Alito to his shocked audience.McCain's inability to distinguish between Sandra Day O'[Connor] and the strict constructionists he vows to appoint is no surprise. Much as activists on the Right agitate about judges, there is no reason to suspect McCain shares their concern. Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein notes, "He has never spoken out or paid serious attention to the issue and never served on the Judiciary Committee. That makes you nervous. Someone who doesn't see the importance of the judiciary doesn't understand the system." Looking over McCain's legislative record,

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