February 7, 2008


Nation's Top Pro-Life Judicial Activist On John McCain (Deal W. Hudson, 2/7/2008, www.insidecatholic.com)

Manny Miranda is recognized as the leading national activist for conservative judicial appointments. [...]

I asked Miranda about his endorsement of McCain, in light of criticism from prominent conservatives and radio show hosts.

Deal W. Hudson: You endorsed John McCain -- why do you think he can be trusted on the issues of importance to Catholics, such as abortion, marriage, and the appointment of judges?

Manny Miranda: It is not something the media likes to admit, but John McCain has had a consistent voting record on pro-life matters. Like Justice Scalia, he believes that abortion rights need to be de-federalized and returned to the states. On judges, he was a good soldier in the fights over the president's most controversial nominees and our efforts to hold Democrats to account for their obstruction. Senator McCain will not need on-the-job training on the fight for the federal courts and the strict reading of the Constitution.

But McCain has been criticized for being part of the Gang of 14, who supposedly blocked some of Bush's judicial nominations. How do you respond to that as someone who worked closely on judicial confirmations?

The truth is that Senator McCain formed the Gang of 14 at the request of Senate leaders who wanted to avoid the "nuclear option" and use it only if Democrats filibustered the expected vacancies on the Supreme Court in 2005. It was an unpleasant compromise, but it also produced confirmation votes on Priscilla Owen, Bill Pryor, and others.

If anyone should be faulted, it is Senate Republican leaders and their staffs who were hesitant about returning Senate rules to the constitutional requirements.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 7, 2008 8:00 AM

What he said. And I'll just add that Maverick did his fellow GOPers a favor that is paying dividends. Imagine if the "nuclear option" was used; you don't think that the "majority" Dems wouldn't have cooked up a reason to use a "nuclear option" to force Bush to accept troop withdrawals and Iraq funding cuts?

Posted by: Brad S at February 7, 2008 8:22 AM

Shorter "conservative" response:

"Miranda? That doesn't sound like an American name. Deport him. Oh, and McCain's a LIBERAL!!1111!!!"

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 7, 2008 9:44 AM

Better question: do you think the 'Gang of Fourteen' compromise could have been passed if the White House had balked? The administration was probably happy it got something through rather than nothing.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2008 10:12 AM

President Bush should have nipped the whole logjam in the bud with some recess appointments in the spring of 2003. The Dems would have been forced to at least concede on up-or-down votes on the nominees who made it through the Judiciary Committee, or face a string of recess appointments (knowing that once the seat was filled, there would have to be a vote at the beginning of the next term). He got bad advice from Frist, from Harriett Miers, and probably even Dan Bartlett.

Posted by: ratbert at February 7, 2008 11:42 AM


I would submit that the base, especially Pro-Lifers, got told to "focus on the judges" at the expense of their own interests.

There is a better way to combat the culture of Roe v Wade, and a District Atty. by the name of Phill Kline is doing it. He's got a 107-count indictment in front of a Johnson County, KS, grand jury in which he has evidence that Planned Parenthood falsified medical records that show they performed illegal partial-birth abortions.

And methinks a focus away from "focus on the judges" would have generated a litigation strategy by conservative trial lawyers against the Gambling industry by now. Or would that have cut too close for a few folks' liking?

Posted by: Brad S at February 7, 2008 4:00 PM

Well, Trent Lott might have objected.

I think the 'focus on the judges' is OK, only because there is so much ground to be covered. Besides, the Left relies on the courts because they know they can't win what they want in politics. So, for the conservative "coalition", we have to fight in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor. My only point is that Bush would give speeches and comments where he kept asking the Senate for up-or-down votes, but he never nudged them. 4 or 5 recess appointnments on Easter Sunday in 2003 would have been a marker. It's not like they (Reid, Daschle, Schumer, Kennedy, Durbin, Leahy, Feinstein, etc.) didn't already hate Bush.

Just today, the WSJ highlights 208 executive appointments that are going nowhere. Why doesn't Bush just fill them all? Ignore Jim Webb's bogus gavel and energize the party. Stuff Reid into the dustbin of history. And McCain would do himself a world of good by supporting it - all he has to say is that the trust he expected from Reid is gone and the White House has to govern while the Senate sucks its collective thumb.

Posted by: ratbert at February 7, 2008 4:47 PM