In coming weeks, John McCain is planning to confront Barack Obama on three issues dear to conservatives’ hearts.
First is Obama’s support of the recent Supreme Court ruling that gives foreign enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detention in federal district courts.
McCain will call the ruling a prime example of judges going beyond what is in the Constitution and will vow to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices to help change the balance on the court, according to a campaign aide.
Second is Obama’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which says a state is not required to recognize same-sex marriages that are performed in other states. Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill in 1996, and Bill Clinton signed it into law.
Third is Obama’s vote in 2002 as an Illinois state senator against a bill to define as a “person” a fully born baby who survived an abortion. The bill was intended to make it clear that if an abortion were botched, an infant born alive would not be killed and would receive medical care. Twice, Obama voted against various versions of the bill and twice voted “present.” The Illinois bill did not pass.
The legislation was similar to the federal Born-Alive Infants Act, which even Hillary Clinton supported in 2001. Leading abortion rights groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, said they would not oppose the federal legislation.
Only 15 members of the U.S. House opposed the bill, and it passed the Senate unanimously on a voice vote. President Bush signed that bill into law in August 2002.
Until now, McCain has generally left the pursuit of Obama to the Republican National Committee, while McCain himself has largely conveyed a positive message. An exception came this week after Obama gave him an opening when he cited criminal prosecutions of those who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 as the way to fight the war on terror.
What Obama forgot is that the government could not have criminally prosecuted the 9/11 hijackers because they were dead. The only way to prevent such attacks by foreign terrorists who don’t care if they are killed or prosecuted is to go after them militarily before they strike.
After Obama’s remarks, the McCain campaign seized the opening by accusing Obama of being “naive” and “delusional.”
The coming major attacks on Obama over substantive issues will be by McCain himself. He will paint Obama as having extremist positions or as being out of touch with the fact that we live in a dangerous world. The attack on Obama’s born-alive abortion position could come later in the summer, a McCain aide said.
As noted in the Newsmax story “Terrorist Rights-Ruling Rallying Point for McCain,” the Supreme Court decision on Gitmo enemy combatants means that a large segment of the 270 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay may have to be released because soldiers in battle cannot possibly be expected to accumulate the sort of evidence that is expected in a civilian arrest.
Under the majority opinion in Boumediene v. Bush, suspected terrorists are given more rights than our own soldiers are afforded when charged with crimes. Their cases are restricted to the military courts.
Obama applauded the decision, calling it an important step toward “re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law.”
Going further than his earlier remarks about the ruling, McCain said at a town-hall-style meeting in New Jersey that it is “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
McCain added, “Our first obligation is the safety and security of this nation, and the men and women who defend it. This decision will harm our ability to do that.”
Given the current justices’ ages, the next president could get to appoint several new members of the Supreme Court. Of the five justices who created a majority in the Guantanamo case, Justice John Paul Stevens is 88, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75, and David Souter and Stephen Breyer are each 69. Anthony M. Kennedy is 71.
The generally younger dissenters were Chief Justice John Roberts, 53, and Justices Samuel Alito, 55, Clarence Thomas, 59, and Antonin Scalia, 72.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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