When John McCain appeared before the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday in an effort to patch up his rocky relations with the GOP’s right flank, he knew the right button to push — judicial nominations:
“I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people’s elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.”
But the track record of Roberts and Alito puts the lie to McCain’s pronouncement. Look no further than the Ledbetter decision, where they rejected longstanding precedent to make it easier for companies to get away with pay discrimination – leaving thousands of workers who illegally receive lower pay with no legal recourse. How does that respect the rights of the American people?
If McCain was actually a “straight talker,” he would have told the CPAC crowd that he supports right-wing judges who routinely side with government and big business over the rights of individual Americans every single time. But McCain’s no maverick, and he’s using the same code words and mantras as Bush – “strict constructionist” and “legislate from the bench” – to signal his fealty to the far right on one of their signature issues.
For real straight talk on the Bush-McCain agenda for the Supreme Court, ask someone who has firsthand experience with the right’s assault on individual rights, like Lilly Ledbetter: