Pro-Abortion Groups Back Off John Roberts, Focus on Next Battle

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 19, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Groups Back Off John Roberts, Focus on Next Battle Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 19, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Leading groups expected to pitch a hard-fought battle with millions of advertising dollars designed to defeat the nomination of Supreme Court appointee John Roberts are backing off from a fight. Sensing Roberts is headed towards confirmation, the pro-abortion groups are keeping their money in reserve for the battle to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Roberts so impressed members of the Senate during his hearings in the Judiciary Committee that even many Democratic Party and Senate operatives tell media sources that they don’t expect Senate Democrats to filibuster his nomination.

Moreover, they believe Roberts will be confirmed handily and siphon off perhaps 15-20 or more Democratic votes in the process.

Instead, groups like NARAL, Planned Parenthood and People for the American Way, expected to spend many millions to defeat Roberts, will hold their money and political capital in reserve.

Groups that back Roberts are also not mounting the all-out campaign political observers expected.

Progress for America, a conservative group supporting Bush’s judicial picks, had been expected to spend as much as $20 million on television ads and grassroots campaigns.

Not only will there be no strong opposition, some key abortion advocates worry that letting Roberts slide by will hurt the next battle.

"The lack of aggressive opposition this time has opened up a pretty wide playing field for the administration," says David Seldin, the former NARAL communications director who quit when the group released a dishonest television ad that had to be withdrawn.

"If Roberts is confirmed easily, the lesson the Bush administration learns from that is they can get away with (another conservative nominee) as long as the ideologue has a good resume and a nice smile," Seldin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Abortion advocates also believe the fight over O’Connor’s seat on the high court is more critical because she voted to uphold Roe v. Wade while Rehnquist was one of the two original dissenters in the case.