With Mitt Romney’s gracious withdrawal from the race for the Republican nomination, it now seems clear that John McCain will be the Republican candidate for president. Whatever McCain’s real or alleged defects (and I have no interest at this point in debating them), there is a stark difference between him, on the one hand, and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, on the other, on a range of major issues, including the sort of justices they could be expected to appoint to the Supreme Court.
I don’t mean to suggest that we’re guaranteed to get outstanding Supreme Court nominations from a President McCain. That would be setting the bar rather high, as no president in my lifetime has made only outstanding Supreme Court nominations. (Update: If this proposition surprises you, see my clarification here.) But I do mean that we’d have a fighting chance at outstanding nominees. By contrast, it is a virtual certainty that a President Clinton or President Obama would make terrible nominations.
Bottom line: Those who care about continuing to work to restore the Supreme Court to its proper role in our constitutional system will have a clear choice in November.