Suffice it to say that John McCain and Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) have had something of a rocky relationship in the past, engaging in extensive litigation over the senator’s flagship McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation ever since WRTL ran ads back in 2004 targeting WI senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold despite a provision in the law “banning ads that mention the names of candidates for public office within certain ‘blackout periods’ ranging from 30 to 60 days before an election–if funds from corporations or unions are used to pay for the ads.”
As the Weekly Standard explained:
McCain has thrown himself into the McCain-Feingold litigation with unusual fervor, personally intervening in Wisconsin Right to Life’s lawsuit rather than relying solely on the lawyers for the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department who are charged with defending the constitutionality of federal election laws. “It is not a common, ordinary occurrence” for sponsors of federal legislation to become involved in litigation over their handiwork, notes Bradley A. Smith, a law professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, who served as FEC chairman during Bush’s first term and is a vocal opponent of McCain-Feingold as well as most other regulation of elections. “How rare it is I can’t tell you, but it’s more common just to file an amicus [friend-of-the-court] brief.”
The case ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court and McCain even filed a brief in which he argued that WRTL’s actions were “a classic case of business corporations funneling unregulated monies to an advocacy group to pay for ads that will influence a federal election” in violation of the law.
But it looks like WRTL isn’t one to hold a grudge, because they have now endorsed him and are citing his pledge to appoint more justices like Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court as one of the key reasons:
The Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee today announced its endorsement of Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential race.
Senator McCain has a stellar 100% voting record on protecting unborn children from abortion. He opposes the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand in the United States and he voted to ban the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure. He opposes taxpayer funding of abortion and supports legislation that would require parental notification prior to a minor’s abortion.
Senator McCain opposes human cloning and the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. He has stated that he would nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices in the mold of Justices Roberts and Scalia.
Presumably, all McCain needs to do to rack up support from his former Religious Right foes is to keep pledging to appoint the type of judges they demand, even if that means ones who will strike down legislation and views he otherwise champions.