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Dana Milbank highlights the laughable notion that People For the American Way and Alliance for Justice have not taken an official position on the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Titling his vignette "Profiles in Courage," Milbank skewers their silly denials of opposition behind their obvious antagonism towards any Republican nomination:
The liberal group People for the American Way has many things to say about President Bush's choice for the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. It calls his record "disturbing" and says he is "hostile to women's reproductive freedom" and "detrimental" to free speech. It has "serious concerns about his ideology" and says he "falls far short of demonstrating the commitment to fundamental civil and constitutional rights that should be shown by a Supreme Court nominee."
So the organization, it is fair to say, has a position in opposition to Roberts? "No, we don't," says Ralph Neas, the chief. ...
The Alliance for Justice, too, says it has "serious concerns" about Roberts. He has an "exceedingly restrictive view of federal law-making authority" and has views or policies that "could threaten a wide swath of workplace, civil rights, public safety and environmental protections" and could "weaken school desegregation efforts, the reproductive rights of women, environmental protections, church-state separation and the voting rights of African Americans."
So, surely the Alliance for Justice is opposed?
Heavens, no. "We are raising serious concerns, but we are not opposing at this time," spokeswoman Kelly Landis said.
The problem, Milbank writes, is avoiding charges of knee-jerk liberal opposition along partisan lines instead of thoughtful opposition based on issues and judicial temperament. Unfortunately, their own language belies the latter and endorses the former. Without giving much in the way of specifics except out-of-context quotes from legal briefs while representing others, neither PFAW nor AFJ has any evidence that Roberts opposes free speech or civil rights, favors segregation, and wants to allow the rape of the environment.
Well, almost none, except that his nomination to the Supreme Court came from a Republican president.
Given the hyperbolic descriptions of their "concerns", does anyone think it likely that either organization will endorse Roberts? Of course not. Why? Because Ralph Neas and AFJ president Nan Aron have spoken against Bush's judicial nominations in the most strident and confrontational manner for the past five years, and have played a key role in pushing Democrats towards the obstructionism during his terms that have guaranteed them minority status. These organizations lost any credibility they have had during that period and have exposed themselves as the worst of the partisan special-interest groups.
This effort to win nonpartisan credibility will fail; you can't build credibility by telling bigger lies.Sphere It View blog reactions
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