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The Confirmation Battle Heats Up — NARAL’s Odious Ad

The group known as NARAL Pro-Choice America has launched an advertising campaign that opposes the confirmation of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. The television ad is truly odious, demonstrating a fundamental lack of honesty and human decency.
Consider these statements drawn from the NARAL ad: [1.] “Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber.” [2.] “Call your senators. Tell them to oppose John Roberts. America can’t afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.”
Of course, no responsible person can condone violence against abortion clinics, and Mr. Roberts has never condoned anything of the sort. To the contrary, he has clearly and publicly denounced the use of violence. NARAL has been caught in a blatant misrepresentation.
NARAL President Nancy Keenan defended the ad, but told The Washington Post, “We’re not suggesting that Mr. Roberts condones clinic violence.”
Come again? Remember this statement from the ad? America can’t afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans. How can that be squared with: We’re not suggesting that Mr. Roberts condones clinic violence? Do words mean anything?
This ad is truly reprehensible, and it represents an undeniable escalation of the battle over Mr. Roberts’ confirmation. Will Americans see this for what it is?
The issue in play is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in the case Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic. The question in that case was whether an arcane 19th-century law used to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan should be used against protesters outside abortion clinics.
Acting as Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, Mr. Roberts participated in presenting the government’s case. I remember the case well because I was present at the Court for the reargument of the case. Mr. Roberts, along with Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, presented oral arguments on October 16, 1991. The Court sided with Mr. Roberts and Mr. Sekulow in a 6-3 decision handed down on January 13, 1993.
Does NARAL suggest that the U.S. Supreme Court is therefore guilty of excusing “violence against other Americans?” This ad is an act of radical desperation.
LINKS FOR THE PROPERLY INDIGNANT: Dan Belz, “Ad Campaign Says Roberts Backed Violent Protesters,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, August 9, 2005; “A Look at Ad by Pro-Choice Interest Group,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, August 9, 2005; Audio of Oral Arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, October 16, 1991; Text of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case, Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, January 13, 1993; ACLJ radio program on the issue; NARAL news release and video of ad.