Attack or Defense? (The Roberts Nomination)

August 12, 2005

The battle to get Roberts onto SCOTUS is showing the dramatic effectiveness of the focused counter-attack.

I’m skeptical about Roberts, since the statistics show he’s almost evens to turn into a lefty despot as soon as he’s elected. Still better him than a guaranteed lefty. And so far the nomination battle has been going well.

The first action was a preemptive strike against the New York Times, which was investigating the Roberts’ adoption of their two little kids. The NYT was breaking the first rule of business and political conflict, which is Never Attack Families. For some reason the US left doesn’t observe this rule – last year Kerry “outed” Dick Cheney’s gay daughter. It’s a terrible tactic, since it provokes a universal Yuck! And so it proved with the NYT story: Drudge leaked their investigations, people got mad, and the NYT staged a miserable retreat.

The next attack was mounted by NARAL, the pro-abortion group.

On Monday, NARAL Pro-Choice America launched a major ad campaign that aims to scare a small portion of America, then raise more money to scare the rest.

The ad was a blatant lie (WSJ subscription).

The ad focuses on a friend-of-the-court brief then-deputy Solicitor General Roberts filed in 1991 in the Supreme Court case Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic. It accuses Judge Roberts of siding with “violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber,” and urges viewers to call their Senators to oppose his confirmation. It concludes: “America can’t afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.”

It’s true that the brief sided with the pro-life protest group, Operation Rescue — but that’s a deliberate distortion of what the legal case was actually about. At issue was whether federal courts could use an 1871 civil rights law enacted to protect blacks against the Ku Klux Klan to stop pro-life blockades of abortion clinics.

Mr. Roberts argued the case before the Supreme Court, saying that a pro-life protest did not constitute discrimination against women. In 1993, a 6-3 Supreme Court agreed.

The right counter-attacked with this Opinion Journal comment on abortion clinics.

In September 2002, when Democrats first blocked Justice Priscilla Owen from a circuit court nomination over a Texas Supreme Court ruling that upheld a parental notice law, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah put it this way:

“I fear the opposition to Justice Owen from the abortion lobby is not at all about abortion rights, because abortion rights are not affected by a mere notice statute. The opposition to Justice Owen is not really about abortion rights, it is about abortion profits. Simply put, the abortion industry is opposed to parental notice laws because parental notice laws place a hurdle between them and the profits from the abortion clients–not the girls who come to them but the adult men who pay for these abortions. These adult men, whose average age rises the younger the girl is, are eager not to be disclosed to parents, sometimes living down the street. . . . At nearly one million abortions per year, the abortion industry is as big as any corporate interest that lobbies in Washington. They not only ignore the rights of parents, they also protect sexual offenders and statutory rapists.You’ve never heard this? Surely that is no surprise.”

Mr. Hatch’s statement was reported in only one news story, by Newsday’s Tom Brune. He noted that there was an audible gasp among the abortion lobbyists in the back of the Judiciary Committee room. I remember that gasp.

It must have struck a nerve – today NARAL said it was withdrawing its ad.

A pro-choice group yesterday said it would withdraw its television ad that accused federal Judge John G. Roberts Jr. of supporting an abortion clinic bomber.

So far then, counter-attack rather than defense has proved the most successful response to democratic attacks on Roberts.


Second Battle Of Britain

August 12, 2005

The Brit government has begun its offensive against Islamofascists, so causing their defenders to expose their positions . It’s going to be an interesting fight, which I expect the government to win. (My sequencing and ellipsis).

Teams of immigration officers supported by 230 police picked up nine Algerians and the Jordanian cleric (Abu Qatada) yesterday.

The Home Secretary signed the orders for the arrests while on holiday in the US. He said: “The circumstances of our national security have changed. It is vital that we act against those who threaten it.”

Ministers are determined to get rid of militants who allegedly stir up hatred, and they have warned the courts not to block plans to expel foreign undesirables. The deportations are regarded as the first test of judges’ willingness to accept Tony Blair’s assertion that “the rules of the game have changed”.

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, said that the new law would oblige judges to give equal weight to national security as to the rights of the individual when considering deportation cases.

“All law operates on the basis that if the facts change then the law changes, and the law is going to change,” he said. “We have got to get the right balance and ultimately where the balance lies is a matter for Parliament.”

The defenders of the deportees argue that deporting them to their home states will expose them to torture, which is prohibited under the European Convention on Human Rights, and that risk of torture trumps the risk that they will incite murder.

(A) warning that it could take up to three years before the detainees were flown out was made by a senior human rights lawyer, who predicted a legal battle ending with a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg. He said: “The key issue is that the agreements with states are not binding, and torture and inhumane treatment are routinely carried out by rogue agents and overzealous security agents. How can we be sure these agreements will be met?”

On past performance, the Brit judiciary will try to prevent deportations – like SCOTUS, they are control-freaks who are appointed for life & live in security bubbles – so terrorist attacks don’t worry them. But elected pols represent an angry and vulnerable people who will not stomach any more carnage. I’m betting the pols will win this one.