The McCain campaign must be pretty spooked about conservative reaction to the story that their man isn't a full-throated Sam Alito fan. Today the campaign sent out an email to supporters trumpeting this Wall Street Journal op-ed by conservative Northwestern University law professors Steven Calabresi and John McGinnis, wherein they attest to McCain's fealty to the right in judicial nominations. The op-ed reads in part:

On Jan. 20, 2009, six of the nine Supreme Court justices will be over 70. Most of them could be replaced by the next president, particularly if he or she is re-elected. Given the prospect of accelerating gains in modern medical technology, some of the new justices may serve for half a century. Even if a more perfect candidate were somehow elected in 2012, he would not be able to undo the damage, especially to the Supreme Court.

Couple thoughts here. First, is McCain endorsing the view that public officials over the age of 70 aren't likely to last until the end of the next president's first term? That's, ah, interesting. Second, does anyone else find it a bit macabre to openly cite the "prospect of accelerating gains in modern medical technology" as a reason to vote for a candidate who will make good judicial appointments? In general I'm loath to entertain the notion of amending the Constitution, but if this is where the public debate is headed, maybe fifteen-year terms for Supreme Court justices would be a good idea.

--Josh Patashnik