Tuesday, August 09, 2005

NARAL Twists Roberts Record To Suit Their Agenda

NARAL Pro-Choice America, is set to run a TV ad that opposes John Roberts nomination. The core argument promoted via the ad is that Roberts has a track record in court cases where he represented violent anti-abortion groups including clinic bomber Michael Bray. (via USA Today):


per the article:

NARAL's ad focuses on Roberts' work in Bray v. Alexandria Women's Clinic. In that case, the court voted 6-3 against a Virginia clinic and others that said the group Operation Rescue had denied women their right to abortions by blocking access to clinics. (O'Connor was among the three dissenters.)

The clinics wanted to use an 1871 civil rights law to make women a protected “class” of citizens who were under threat from clinic blockades. The clinics also accused Operation Rescue of encouraging those behind “hundreds of acts of violence,” including 48 bombings, at clinics.

Roberts argued that it would be wrong to use that law against Operation Rescue. The law initially was designed to protect ex-slaves from Ku Klux Klan harassment. The first Bush administration said applying the law could violate protesters' speech rights.

NARAL President Nancy Keenan said her group isn't saying Roberts condoned the bombing of clinics. She said, however, that Roberts, through his arguments, essentially supported bombers.

Here is the NARAL site dedicated to the ad:


The argument by NARAL is more than an over reach, it’s an outright falsification of the facts and a pure attack ad. To say that Roberts supported bombers because he argued on the behalf of protesters (in this case pro-life supporters), for their free speech rights, is an illogical connection to support an agenda.

Roberts was assistant to the U.S. solicitor general when he argued the Bray v. Alexandria Women's Clinic case. It was his job and responsibility in this case to defend the freedom of speech rights of Operation Rescue members. Had the tables been turned it would have been his job to fight for and defend the rights of NARAL, and I’m sure that is just what he would have done.

The Bray v. Alexandria case is not a case where Roberts defended pro-life or bombers, it’s a case where he defended free speech. To twist the story to show Roberts as anti-choice is bad enough, but to then editorialize that he supported violence and bombers, is a deliberate falsification of the facts. To then run an ad on TV broadcasting the falsification proves that NARAL is an activist organization with no credibility. When your advocacy allows one to cross the line in this matter, the only people who will follow are like minded zealots.

I have and issue with extremist on both sides of this issue, who use extreme tactics to promote their beliefs on the abortion matter. Operation Rescue uses some very disturbing tactics in my opinion and the extremists on the far right who have blown up clinics and killed people are simply terrorists. Their actions are not defendable. The right of free speech however applies to everyone regardless of their position on abortion and in his position in 1991, Roberts was required to argue their rights, he did, and he should have.

NARAL is taking Roberts defense of free speech and twisting it into a perverted argument that he has a record of supporting bombers of abortion clinics. Again this is simply an agenda based falsification. At best they hope that some seeing the ad will think Roberts really does support violence and bombing of clinics. At worst they hope to show that he is hostile to pro-choice, which is the real aim of the ad. We will hear much more in the coming days from both sides of the abortion argument over Roberts nomination. Let’s hope that facts and accurate history are the focus of debate instead of outright falsification like this NARAL ad.


Per Drudge CNN has agreed to run the ad and FactCheck confirms that ad is false:



Per Fact Check:


An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers “supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber” and of having an ideology that “leads him to excuse violence against other Americans” It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham , Alabama .

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.

The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.

This is going to end up working against the Roberts critics, because of the obviously false presentation and propaganda...................

Update II

The case that NARAL is distorting in their smear ad is not only based in freedom of speech but also federal jurisdiction vs. state jurisdiction to rule. I did not get that point earlier but the lawyer bloggers have cleared that point up. Regardless, it was a constitutional right of free speech to be decided by the rightful state government vs. federal government entity that was missing from my original post, as well as the use of an inappropriate law that was put up in the argument. That has no bearing on the fact that there is no evidence of Roberts protecting or advocating violence against woman or clinics. Those are the facts in this situation. The same huge distortion that I pointed out in the original post and the most important one on this matter, apply completely.........................