McCain on the filibuster
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Do you think it’s fair for the Democrats to stop all government business if the Republicans get rid of the filibuster in judgeships?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: No, I don’t. And I think…
MATTHEWS: Is it fair for the Republicans to get rid of the filibuster?
MCCAIN: No. And why is it that after 200 years we now cannot settle the issue of judges? Well, it’s a symptom of the problems we have with the bitter partisanship here in Washington.
MATTHEWS: The president of the United States gets to pick federal judges. What should be the standard that the opposition applies to whether they let it come to a vote or not?
MCCAIN: I think that they should let them come to a vote, but I also think that before the nominations are formally introduced, the way they used to do it, they would kind of run the traps of the-senators, particularly those on the committee and say, “Are these acceptable or unacceptable?” and if they were unacceptable they wouldn’t send them over and if they were acceptable, then they would move forward.
We used to have this thing called a blue slip, where if it was a judge from your state, you could and if you objected they didn’t take it up. And by the way, when Bill Clinton was president, we effectively, in the Judiciary Committee, blocked a number of his nominees.
MATTHEWS: But bottom line, would you vote for what’s called the “nuclear option,” to get rid of the filibuster rule on judgeships?
MCCAIN: No, I will not.
MATTHEWS: You will stick with the party?
MCCAIN: No, I will vote against the nuclear option.
MATTHEWS: You will vote-
MCCAIN: Against the nuclear option.
MATTHEWS: Oh, you will?
MATTHEWS: So you will vote with the Democrats?
MCCAIN: Yes, because I think we have got to sit down and work this thing out. Look, we won’t always be on the majority. I say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?
Second of all, we ought to be able to work it out. Third of all I don’t want to shut down the Senate. We’re in a war. We’re in a war. Shouldn’t we be doing the people’s business?