John Roberts: Promoter of Violence

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Factcheck.org has taken on a NARAL ad against John Roberts [Hat tip: Eugene Volokh]. Apparently they said he "filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber". Not only did his case have nothing to do with the bombing that they showed in the ad, which was seven whole years later than the case in question, but the case wasn't about the issues they say at all. It was about a blockade, which his brief says is illegal. He calls these people criminals, yet somehow that counts as supporting them. The only thing he says that might remotely be construed as supporting them isn't really supporting them but criticizing the argument of those who said their crime also falls under an anti-discrimination law in addition to whatever else made it illegal. Roberts pointed out that it doesn't fall under an anti-discrimination law, because they were blockading men as well as women. It's thus not discriminating against women. I'm trying to figure out how that line of argument counts as supporting the bombing of abortion clinics, which their imagery is designed to convey.

If this is the best they can come up with against this guy, they have little chance of derailing the nomination. That they stoop to outright and obvious lying to accomplish it rather than the standard misleading political rhetoric shows how desperate they are to prevent someone they know very little about from getting in. That just seems downright irrational, given that the extremist right hates the guy (with much derision directed at Bush while they're at it) even more than groups like NARAL. [Clarification: the ProLifeBlogs post is not an example of the extremist right but merely provides a link to a commentary piece by an extremist right news magazine that I won't link to if I can at all help it. Since I can link to someone who links to it, I avoid the problem.]

The most ironic thing about the NARAL ad, which Factcheck.org unsurprisingly didn't point out, is the reason NARAL says Roberts shouldn't be confirmed. The ad ends with the following statement: "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." Indeed. It's pretty bad to excuse violence unless you have a very good reason for thinking the violence is justifed because of a much more important moral principle. I even think it's much, much worse to excuse unjustified violence than it is to cause the violence oneself. It's too bad they don't realize that they've just condemned the very reason for the existence of their group. Whatever else abortion is, it's clearly violence against a developing human organism. The whole point of their group is to defend violence. If they really wanted to criticize those who excuse some of the most hidden violence in the country, they should go after themselves.

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