NARAL v. Roberts
As you may know, the pro-abortion group NARAL has put out a rather vicious television ad attacking U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. At one point, the ad says, "John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber." The ad was referring to the 1993 case Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic. NARAL would have us believe that Roberts somehow condoned the bombing of abortion clinics by his involvement in the case. However, I did a little research on the case, and this is actually not the case.
Bray v. AWHC was not about whether or not abortion clinic bombings are justified. Rather, it had to do with the law which was being cited in order to take violent anti-abortion activists into custody, the Ku Klux Klan Act. Abortion advocates argued that the protestors were discriminatory and that they could therefore be taken into custody under a law designed to deal with racism.
According to their website, NARAL believes that the KKK Act is a viable "legal weapon" that can be used against violent protestors. I believe that this is a naive statement. Using the KKK Act against pro-lifers is like trying to perform a tonsilectamy with a meat cleaver. Sure, you'll get the tonsils out, but using such a large and inappropriate tool will also cause a lot of damage.
Judge Roberts rightly realized that this case had repercussions that went far beyond a gang of wackos trying to blow up clinics. Had the court ruled that the KKK Act was an acceptable justification for arresting protestors, it would have officially declared an anti-abortion political stance to be the same as white supremacism in the eyes of the U.S. Government. This would have given future courts a precedent to indiscriminately declare political beliefs to be racist and criminal. Imagine how many abuses could be made possible by such a precedent!
John Roberts had the common sense to realize that the problem of abortion clinic bombing should be handled with a surgeon's scalpel (laws against trespassing and harassment), not the cleaver of the KKK Act. Grotesque analogies aside, I think that Judge Roberts' work on Bray v. AWHC showed the same thoughtful approach to the law that led President Bush to appoint him to the nation's highest court.