Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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NARAL’s anti-Roberts ad

I don’t need to say any more than this about NARAL’s mendacious and despicable ad. If, however, you have the need to read more, go here, here, here, and here.

Update: Here’s’s analysis of the ad, headlined "NARAL Falsely Accuses Supreme Court Nominee Roberts."

Discussions - 8 Comments

I think this will backfire. Even the mainstream media understand that being concerned about legal abuses in efforts to crack down on terrorists doesn’t make one a sympathizer with the terrorists. Here it was anti-choice terorists. What about those of us who have been concerned with what has been done at Guantanamo Bay, etc? Let’s say I’m up for a judgeship and I’ve intervened in a case to challenge the legal grounds for detentions of suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists. Now some right-wing group runs a TV ad claiming that I’m an Al-Qaeda sympathizer. I think those of us on the left have good reasons to take the group who ran the anti-Roberts ad to task and disassociate ourselves from those kinds of tactics very clearly.


To call those who demonstrate against abortion "anti-choice terrorists" represents are revaluation (and devaluation) of values. Eric Rudolph is a terrorist; so are the clinic bombers and the other murderers of abortion clinic doctors. I’ll grant you that. But few who oppose abortion support them.

Your characterization of the most vocal and obnoxious (yet non-violent) opponents of abortion as terrorists in effect makes every vocal and obnoxious opponent of a political position a terrorist. Are the people who burn President Bush in effigy everywhere he goes terrorists? Are the anarchists who demonstrate (vigorously, not to say violently) at WTO meetings terrorists? (When they break the law, they surely are criminals, but I want to reserve "terrorist" for those who try to kill and injure civilians.)

Your over-the-top polemic here (implying moral equivalence where there is none) distracts and detracts from the other point you make, which is that NARAL’s position here makes civil liberties advocates vulnerable to the same kind of unprincipled name-calling and guilt by association.

There are, of course, other issues, connected with "objectively" giving aid and comfort, as well as how far we must go to respond to a serious threat, which is how I think NARAL, when pressed, defends its ad. But that’s an issue for private conversation or C-SPAN, and will rarely or never come up in the heat of the moment.

I thought it was obvious that my remarks about "terrorists" referred to bombers and others making armed attacks, i.e. those against whom legal action was appropriate, even if not under the civil rights act. Terrorism refers to the means used not the ends or beliefs in which it is exercised.

The case at issue dealt with demonstrations, not terrorism, so your response seemed to refer to them, as opposed to bombings or murders. Hence my confusion.

Yes, that was a confusion. Some of the material that you linked to suggested that at issue were persons who had committed violent acts that were clearly sanctionable under state law. In this respect, I thought it important that the Solicitor General’s brief went out of its way to make clear that they were not condoning the conduct in question, which was clearly legally wrongful, but only addressing whether that conduct was caught by the civil rights legislation.

I can see how you might have been misled by the articles, which don’t sufficiently distinguish between the demonstrations at issue in Bray and anti-abortion violence. The facts recited by the Court here make it clear that anti-abortion demonstrations were the bone of contention in this case. The reason why the pro-abortion folks were so interested in assimilating the anti-abortion folks to the KKK, and using the 1871 law, was that they they didn’t have anything stronger--that is, real violence--to hang on them. Yes, there was trespassing, and that’s a crime, but....

No, I might have been guided instead by the characterization of the testimony at trial as providing uncontroverted evidence that the conduct of the individuals in question posed real risk of physical or mental harm. There was for example a real at least implicit threat of physical force used to prevent persons from lawfully entering the facilities to obtain treatment. Other acts including planting nails in parking lots, presumably so as to provoke automobile accidents in which those working in the clinics or receiving health care there would be injured or at least have property damaged.

I guess we would have to go back to the trial judgment to see the full range of unlawful (under other provisions than the civil rights law) acts that was involved.

Did anyone listen that d-bag from NARAL talk on the radio yesterday. He contradicted himself about 10 times.

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