McCain: "Elections Have Consequences"

ABC News' David Chalian Reports:

Sen. John McCain reacted to President Obama's pick of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court by reminding his audience that "elections have consequences." Sen. McCain said he most likely would not have nominated Judge Sotomayor had he won the presidential election last November.

"I committed to nominating people to the US Supreme Court and other courts if I had been elected, and they were what they call strict constitutionalists, who strictly adhere to the Constitution. Justice Sotomayor may be qualified and we will examine that, but I think I would not have nominated her," McCain said during an interview this morning on KQTH FM in Tucson, Arizona.

And perhaps undermining a key Republican line of attack on Judge Sotomayor, Sen. McCain said it will be the examination of her legal opinions as a sitting judge -- not her words before public audiences -- to which he will give the most weight when considering her nomination.

Many Republicans and conservative critics of Ms. Sotomayor have pointed to a YouTube video that has been making the rounds of remarks she gave at Duke University Law School in 2005. Judge Sotomayor said at the time, "the Court of Appeals is where policy is made.” She went on to catch herself and added, "I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don't 'make law,' I know.”

When asked if quotes like that one from Judge Sotomayor's past will impact her confirmation vote, Sen. McCain said her rulings will have a greater impact. "I don't know, a lot of things are said to audiences. I think most of the examination and determination will be made by the actual decisions she has rendered as a member of the court. I think that far outweighs most other considerations, and I think very appropriately so."

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that an Obama administration official described Sotomayor's language as "a poor choice of words," but insists her overall record is one as an advocate of judicial restraint.

ABC News' Elizabeth Gorman contributed to this report.

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