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.
I defy anyone to find a more strongly worded condemnation by FactCheck, a group that, IMHO, really is as ‘fair and balanced’ as they come.
And see also this re: Planned Parenthood.
*** Update ***
Just got this e-mail from someone at Feminist.org:
You failed to mention that as Solicitor General, Roberts did not have to sign an Amicus brief siding with the violent extremists. This was a voluntary action and unique. The government did not have to weigh in at all. You had a federal judge who issued an injunction to keep the harassing protesters away from women trying to enter clincs. This was the only remedy at the time. Roberts advocated against the use of a federal civil rights statute to protect women seeking abortion services a form of discrimmination against women in his own words "even though only women can have abortions." His brief from the White House may have influenced the Supreme Court at thetime which decided 6 to 3 to let the protesters use extreme tactics. O'Connor dissented.
There are not many amicus briefs that I am aware of where the government sides voluntarily with a convicted clinic bomber, Michael Bray, who is also the leader of the domestic terrorist group "Army of God." Check with the FBI. Using Emily Lyons is justified. Her bomber, Eric Robert Rudolf is a self proclaimed Army of God member. (click June 9th press release) The Army of God first appeared on the anti-abortion scene in 1984 by Michael Bray and his first bombing of a clinic.
You may want to also check the amicus brief itself, Feminists for Life signed on too. Was Robert's wife on the board at that time or a member of FFL? I do not know. But if so, did her ideology influence her husband's voluntary participation in the amicus brief?
NARAL's ad is not misleading - it is right on target. Was Robert's decision to sign on the result of ideology instead of pragmatism? Ideology would explain the fact why this Supreme Court nominee blindly decided to voluntarily pursue this case and not check the backgrounds of the people he was defending.
I am not going to disclose the name, as it was private correspondence, but the letter is there for you to read. Personally, I don’t think there is anything misleading. A flat-out lie, sure. A smear? Absolutely. A weak attempt at guilt by association? You betcha.
But misleading? Not at all. The ad says exactly what they want it to say, and it is contemptible. And this letter is more of the same. I particularly enjoy her dragging Mrs. Roberts into this…