Top Democrat: NARAL Abortion Ads on John Roberts Wasting Money

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Top Democrat: NARAL Abortion Ads on John Roberts Wasting Money Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 11, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says the national television advertising campaigns on John Roberts, including one by leading abortion advocacy group NARAL, are a waste of money. He suggested the ads won’t change the minds of any senators on Roberts’ bid for the Supreme Court.

Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont told the Associated Press he regretted the presidential campaign style of the NARAL ads and said he didn’t think anyone should take a hard line for or against Roberts until after the hearings the judicial panel will hold September 6.

"These outside lobbying groups, whether on the right or the left, have become, for me anyway, basically irrelevant," Leahy said. "They will probably be offended by that and I am not saying they shouldn’t do what they do. I just wish they didn’t."

Leahy is one of many senators who has met with Roberts privately and he described President Bush’s first high court nominee as bright, pleasant and, "definitely somebody who has a very clear philosophical legal view."

"There are some people it would be tempting to pass early judgment on because of some of the positions they have taken … but I don’t think Roberts falls into that category," Leahy told AP.

NARAL is the first major organization with a significant television campaign against Roberts. The ad, which has been assailed by pro-life groups, claims Roberts supports abortion-related violence because of a legal brief he filed on behalf of the former Bush administration siding with abortion protesters.

The brief, however, merely stated that any illegal actions the protesters took could be handle by state law and that it was inappropriate to use an 1800s civil rights law to prosecute illegal activity.

Even, a political watchdog under the auspices of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, said the ad paints a false portrait of Roberts.

"In words and images, the ad conveys the idea that Roberts took a legal position excusing bombing of abortion clinics, which is false," the center wrote in an analysis. "Nowhere in Roberts’ court brief or oral arguments does he defend or excuse acts of violence."