by Steven Ertelt
August 9, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Several abortion advocacy groups on Tuesday held a joint press conference to demand that President Bush release additional documents related to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his views on abortion. Their demand comes just a day after one organization began a television campaign making it appear Roberts backs abortion-related violence.
The organizations joined a call by Senate Democrats for the White House to turn over more documents related to Roberts’ work as deputy solicitor general under former President Bush.
The Justice Department has rejected the request citing attorney client privilege and pointing to a bipartisan agreement by former solicitor generals against releasing sensitive documents.
The groups are specifically seeking internal memos related to the former Bush administration’s participation in the case of Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic.
The case involved the question of whether or not an 1871 law targeting the KKK in civil rights cases could be applied to abortion protesters that engaged in illegal activities. Roberts filed a brief for the Bush administration saying state laws prosecuting illegal activities were sufficient and that a federal law should not be misused to target pro-life advocates.
Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, a trade group for abortion businesses, said, "It’s important to note that the government was not required to enter this case. Instead, John Roberts voluntarily chose to join in and take the side of a convicted bomber and other violent anti-choice extremists."
However, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Roberts’ position the federal law should not be misapplied. Retiring pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was in the minority.
Abortion advocates had hoped the court would rule the law could be used to stop pro-life protesters outside abortion facilities, but Jay Sekulow, chief attorney at the American Center for Law and Justice, said the court ruled correctly.
"The Supreme Court correctly concluded that the application of this 120-year-old law to silence the pro-life community was not permissible," he explained. "Those involved in the case worked to ensure that a misapplication of the statute would not be allowed to continue."
They say they want the internal documents to determine whether Roberts was simply arguing for the Bush administration or if he agreed with the position the law shouldn’t be used.
"Was Roberts the chief protagonist," Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation asked at the press conference.
NARAL, whose president Nancy Keenan participated in the event, began the commercials Monday attacking Roberts and implying he backed abortion violence.