The impetus for the charge is a Politico report on a McCain meeting with disgruntled Clinton supporters, in which one former Clintonite is quoted as saying he was happy McCain “pointed out that he supported Bill Clinton with both Ginsberg and Breyer.”
But this is nothing new. In his speech on the judiciary at Wake Forest last month that I attended, McCain cited his votes for liberal judges as a way of attacking Obama for not voting for John Roberts and Samuel Alito, even though they were well qualified.
Here’s what McCain said publicly at Wake Forest:
I have my own standards of judicial ability, experience, philosophy, and temperament. And Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito meet those standards in every respect. They would serve as the model for my own nominees if that responsibility falls to me. And yet when President Bill Clinton nominated Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to serve on the high court, I voted for their confirmation, as did all but a few of my fellow Republicans. Why? For the simple reason that the nominees were qualified, and it would have been petty, and partisan, and disingenuous to insist otherwise. Those nominees represented the considered judgment of the president of the United States. And under our Constitution, it is the president’s call to make.
My guess is that McCain said something along these lines, rather than that he actually wants more justices in the mod of Breyer and Ginsberg.