Thursday, July 21, 2005

Operation Rescue
and Judge Roberts

Today Operation Rescue (OR), the militant anti-choice group, issued a press release endorsing the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. And well they should.

In 1992, when the case of OR activist Jayne Bray came before the Supreme Court, Deputy Solicitor General John Roberts filed, on behalf of the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, an amicus brief supporting Bray's position that the Alexandria Women's Health Clinic could not restrict his activities around the clinic on the basis of a civil rights statute.

It was quite the bold move, since Operation Rescue was known for harassing pregnant women and blocking their access to health facilities where abortions are performed. In fact, OR founder Randall Terry deemed one doctor who performed abortions a perpetrator of "crimes against humanity" and said he hoped the doctor would be executed.

Furthermore, the government was not involved in the case, and had no compelling interest in it.

As noted in the piece on Roberts that your blogstress penned for The American Prospect Online, the nominee's wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, served as the executive vice president of Feminists for Life (1995-1999), and has been a serious financial contributor to the group over the years. She continues to do legal work for the organization, according to a statement on the Feminists for Life Web site.

While Ms. Roberts' husband argued Operation Rescue's case before the Supreme Court, Feminists for Life (FFL) filed an amicus brief of its own in support of Operation Rescue. The organization argued over the original intent of the framers of the 1872 statute that the Alexandria clinic was invoking. Since those early feminists regarded abortion to be anathema, asserted FFL, the clinic's claim via the statute should have no standing.

Although your cybertrix does not believe that Ms. Roberts had any role in crafting that brief, she is curious to know whether the nominee's wife had yet become a member of Feminists for Life. Two years after the case was decided, Ms. Roberts joined the organization's board of directors.

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