WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, President Barack Obama's 2008 Republican presidential opponent, said Monday he will oppose the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Arizona senator said he could not accept what he saw as her activism as a federal judge. The Senate is expected to begin debate on Obama's first Supreme Court nominee Tuesday, with a final vote — and overwhelming confirmation — expected later in the week.
McCain will vote no. "Again and again, Judge Sotomayor seeks to amend the law to fit the circumstances of the case, thereby substituting herself in the role of a legislator. Our Constitution is very clear in its delineation and disbursement of power," McCain said. "It solely tasks the Congress with creating law. It also clearly defines the appropriate role of the courts to 'extend to all Cases in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties.'
"To protect the equal, but separate roles of all three branches of government, I cannot support activist judges that seek to legislate from the bench. I have not supported such nominees in the past, and I cannot support such a nominee to the highest court in the land."
Several Republicans have raised similar issues, concerned that Sotomayor's personal views will cloud her judgment. She insisted during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that she follows the law, but McCain, like many other GOP senators, was concerned.
She is a judge who has foresworn judicial activism in her confirmation hearings, but who has a long record of it prior to 2009. And should she engage in activist decisions that overturn the considered constitutional judgments of millions of Americans, if she uses her lifetime appointment on the bench as a perch to remake law in her own image of justice, I expect that Americans will hold us Senators accountable," McCain said.
"Judicial activism demonstrates a lack of respect for the popular will that is at fundamental odds with our republican system of government....regardless of ones success in academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the common sense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench.
"For this reason, and no other, I am unable to support Judge Sotomayors nomination.