Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
One reason John McCain makes pro-lifers queasy: the Supreme Court. McCain’s Gang of 14 snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for pro-life judges.
Now comes Human Events, nailing McCain down on the question: What will your nominees be like?
It seemed like a vote for McCain was a vote along the lines of the logic of Horatio Hornblower’s duel in the book Midshipman Hornblower . A bad shot, Hornblower arranged it so that only one gun was loaded, and it was random whether he or his opponent got it. He figured a 50/50 chance was better than certain death. Rolling the dice on McCain’s nominees beats the certainty that Obama’s will be Roe v. Waders.
But, quoth the interview:
“Q: On the Supreme Court, you have said you will make nominations of strict constructionists in the mold of Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. If such nominees are ‘borked,’ defeated for confirmation in the Senate, will you promise to continue to send similar constructionist nominees to the Senate for confirmation?
”A: Absolutely. I will send [judicial nominees] to the Senate with a record of strictly interpreting the Constitution of the United States. That’s what the founding fathers said they should do. It’s not an idea of mine. That’s what the founding fathers said when they called for the separation of branches [of government]—executive, legislative, and judicial. I mean to somehow think this is a departure of what our fathers have clearly stated is really a continuing puzzlement to me. My point is that judges who legislate from the bench are not within their line of responsibility as clearly cited by the Founding Fathers.
”Q: Now the four justices you cite as models for nomination—Roberts, Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia—have all at different times voted to overturn parts of the McCain-Feingold campaign legislation you co-authored. Would you appoint justices who would do that?
”A: Well, obviously, I wouldn’t impose any litmus tests. No justice that I would nominate would I expect to agree with me on every single issue. The majority of justices just made a ruling on detainees I didn’t agree with. That was very disturbing to me. And so, I can’t say I would agree with every decision. But if I can count on every justice that I name to share my view of the judiciary, then in the long run, things should come out OK.”
Let us hope.
— Tom Hoopes