How Lawyers Are Remembering ‘Maverick’ John McCain’s Legacy


“Without a champion like McCain, comprehensive campaign finance reform never would have passed,” said Trevor Potter, formerly general counsel to McCain on his presidential runs. Here’s a roundup of some of what lawyers on both sides of the political spectrum are saying.
Arizona Senator John McCain’s death on Saturday at 81 triggered a cascade of condolences and memories from prominent political and law leaders in Washington and elsewhere. Read the New York Times obituary here, and the Washington Post here.
McCain famously voted down the U.S. Senate’s effort in 2017 to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, and this year he resisted calls among some conservatives to shut down the Russia investigation, saying Robert Mueller III, the special counsel, must be allowed to continue “unimpeded.” McCain was widely known for his campaign finance reform advocacy.
“Without a champion like McCain, comprehensive campaign finance reform never would have passed. For him, campaign finance reform was not just a one-time legislative milestone, but a mission,” said Caplin & Drysdale partner Trevor Potter, formerly general counsel to McCain on his presidential runs in 2000 and 2008.
Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general and former Alabama U.S. senator, said in a statement about McCain: “His ferocious tenacity for his country was unmatched. America has lost one of its greatest patriots.”
Arizona’s governor will choose McCain’s successor. Among the names reportedly in the mix is former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, senior of counsel to Covington & Burling who is playing a leading role in helping Brett Kavanaugh navigate confirmation proceedings. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is set to begin Sept. 4.
Here’s a roundup of some of what lawyers are saying about McCain:
>>> Fran Townsend:

A fine example of the character and integrity of @SenJohnMcCain who put truth before politics and self interest. This is what real leadership looks like.
— Frances Townsend (@FranTownsend) August 25, 2018
>>> Preet Bharara: “I was once in an elevator with John McCain when I was a nobody staffer in the US Senate. I was in the member elevator, a rare & uncomfortable privilege. McCain said something. I don’t remember what. But it made me laugh my ass off. That was John McCain.”
>>> Vanita Gupta: “John McCain served his country with distinction – both in the Navy and as a senator. Our deepest condolences go out to Cindy, his family, and all those who were touched by his service. He was truly one of a kind.”
>>> Eric Holder:

— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) August 26, 2018
>>> Robert Kelner: “May John McCain’s memory be a blessing. Fair winds and following seas.”
>>> Orin Kerr: “John McCain was a good man. I was happy to support him, endorse his campaign for President, and vote for him. He had flaws, like everyone. But he loved his country and served it honorably. May he Rest In Peace.”
>>> Robbie Kaplan: “While I certainly didn’t agree with much of what John McCain’s views, I did respect his courage and integrity.”
>>> Richard Painter: “John McCain RIP. He was a hero not only in wartime but also in the battle to get money out of American politics.”
>>> Peter Stris: ” ‘I can’t wish my opponent luck, but I do wish him well.” @SenJohnMcCain. Rest In Peace.”
>>> Ian Bassin: “John McCain led a life and career dedicated to serving the public. He was an honorable man who put country over party. We could use more like him. He will be missed.”
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