- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Conservatives and an independent fact-checking group are picking apart the pro-choice TV ad targeting Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts Jr., but Senate Democrats are staying out of the fracas.

The ad — run by NARAL Pro-Choice America — accuses Judge Roberts of supporting a violent anti-abortion activist in a brief he wrote for a Supreme Court case while working as deputy solicitor general in the first President Bush’s administration.

The conservative American Center for Law and Justice called the ad “factually flawed and reprehensible.” The unaffiliated Annenberg Public Policy Center said the ad gives a “false implication.”

Senate Democrats, however, were avoiding the whole controversy by declining to comment, because, aides said, they had not seen the ad.

Republicans were not so silent.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and member of the Judiciary Committee, said the accusations are the same ones that liberals have cast at nominees for decades. He recalled a flier at one rally against Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter that warned: “Stop Souter or women will die.”

“So these charges are not new, and the attacks are little more than recycled slander,” Mr. Cornyn said. “I hope my colleagues can resist this low-road approach to what should be a fair, thorough and dignified confirmation process.”

The Annenberg study of the ad concluded that it “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,” the Annenberg analysis said. “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.”

Annenberg also said the images used in the ad are “especially misleading” because the pictures of a clinic bombing used in the ad happened nearly seven years after Judge Roberts wrote his legal brief.

Also yesterday, the National Association of Manufacturers endorsed Judge Roberts — the first such endorsement in the trade group’s 110-year history.

“Judge Roberts’ record is one that fully qualifies him as a Justice who will interpret the law as written, not an activist who will legislate from the bench,” said NAM President John Engler. “Business depends on a legal system that is fair and predictable.”

Eugene Delgaudio, president of the conservative group Public Advocate, withdrew his support for Judge Roberts yesterday because the nominee gave pro bono help to a homosexual-rights group that went on to win a major victory in the Supreme Court’s Romer v. Evans decision. That 1996 ruling struck down a Colorado referendum prohibiting local governments from recognizing homosexual rights.

“He claims that he strictly interprets the Constitution,” Mr. Delgaudio said. “That is the candidate we want. That is the candidate we demand. And yet, when given the option to volunteer, he volunteered to help the opposition to constructionism.”

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