Ramesh, I don’t understand how you can say the first quote “would seem to preclude any Harriet Mierses—and any David Souters.” Let’s leave aside the fact that what the Senator says in an interview for public consumption may be much less revealing than the Alito statement that’s been reported which (assuming it was made) was obviously never intended to see the light of day. Is it not the case that President Bush himself repeatedly made similar pledges to appoint strict constructionist judges and then nevertheless proceeded to nominate Harriet Miers?
Moreover, you’ve repeatedly made the fair point that Sen. McCain disclaims having a campaign-finance reform litmus test for judicial appointments, and that’s fine as far as it goes. But how credible is the assertion, ”I think it’s vital to strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States,” coming from someone who not only pushed the McCain/Feingold legislation but urged it on the federal courts in amicus briefs as an appropriate interpretation of the First Amendment?
None of this, of course, precludes the possibility that Sen. McCain would appoint very fine justices. I just don’t see, however, why his conclusory pronouncements about his inclinations and his record are sufficient to dispel reasonably held concerns about what kind of judges he’d appoint.