August 10, 2005

CNN Agrees To Run False Ad On Judge Roberts

From Drudge Report:

CNN has reviewed and agreed to run a controversial ad produced by a pro-abortion group that falsely accuses Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers supporting a convicted clinic bomber! The news network has agreed to a $125,000 ad buy from NARAL, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, for a commercial which depicts a bombed out 1998 Birmingham, AL abortion clinic. The Birmingham clinic was bombed seven years after Roberts signed the legal briefing. The linking of Roberts to "violent fringe groups" is the sharpest attack against the nominee thus far. However, the non-partisan University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Factcheck.org reviewed the NARAL ad and found it to be false. Factcheck.org found "in words and images, the ad conveys the idea that Roberts took a legal position excusing bombing of abortion clinics, which is false."

The Factcheck.org report can be found here. The report notes the following:

In words and images, the ad conveys the idea that Roberts took a legal position excusing bombing of abortion clinics, which is false. To the contrary, during the Reagan administration when he was Associate Counsel to the President, Roberts drafted a memo saying abortion-clinic bombers "should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." In the 1986 memo, Roberts called abortion bombers "criminals" and "misguided individuals," indicating that they would get no special treatment regarding requests for presidential pardons. Reagan in fact gave no pardons to abortion-clinic bombers ...The ad fails to mention that the "court briefs" it mentions are actually from nearly seven years before the abortion clinic bombing talked about in the ad. The woman in the ad, Emily Lyons, was injured by a bomb blast at the New Woman/All Women Health Clinic in Birmingham on January 28, 1998 that also killed an off-duty police officer. The bomber was Eric Rudolph, who was captured in May 2003 after a five-year manhunt. Rudolph pleaded guilty and in July 2005 was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without parole. The brief that Roberts signed, and on which the NARAL ad is based, is from another matter entirely. It is dated April 11, 1991. Furthermore, it is from a civil lawsuit brought by abortion clinics against protesters who were blockading the clinics. Bombing was not an issue...The ad contends that Roberts "filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber." Indeed, Roberts' name appears on the "friend of the court" brief in Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic that the ad shows. But what Roberts was supporting wasn't violence or bombing or even the behavior that was the subject of the lawsuit - blockades of clinics. In fact, Roberts went out of his way to say that the blockaders were trespassing, which is a violation of state law. What Roberts argued was that a federal anti-discrimination law couldn't be used against abortion blockaders because they weren't discriminating against women they were blockading men, too.

It is clear that Judge Roberts was not the attorney for Bray, Terry or Operation Rescue. Rather, he was involved in the case as a deputy solicitor general and was arguing the government's position on the issues raised by the case referenced in the ad. The solicitor general will often submit briefs to the Supreme Court on various cases as "friends of the court" so as to outline the current administration's position on the legal issues raised by the particular case.

I wholeheartedly agree with Factcheck.org's conclusion that "NARAL would have every right to say that Roberts argued for a legal result with which they disagreed. They could also say accurately that many persons, including three Supreme Court justices, also disagreed and saw a threat of 'mob violence' going unchecked because of that position. But it is false to suggest that Roberts supported the actions of "violent" groups or clinic bombers because he argued that a law aimed at the Ku Klux Klan could not be used against those who blockade abortion clinics."

For weeks, the Democrats and their various activist groups have been complaining about the fact that they knew little of Judge Roberts' judicial philosophy because has such a limited amount of opinions on file. Evidently, they have become desperaterate and have decided to make things up.

I am, for the most part, pro-choice (although I believe that abortion is almost always the wrong choice to make). However, I am appalled that NARAL would stoop to this level. It only undermines any credibility that they may have and does nothing to advance its cause.
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