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This Week in Liberal Judicial Activism—Week of August 4



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Helter Skelter reasoning, ABA idiocy, and NARAL mendacity:
  
Aug. 61993—In a harbinger of nominations to come, President Clinton’s first batch of nominees to the federal courts of appeals includes Tennessee supreme court justice, and liberal judicial activist, Martha Craig Daughtrey.  Among other things, as a state supreme court justice, Daughtrey never voted to affirm a death sentence, and she joined an opinion condemning the death penalty (see This Week for Apr. 26, 1987).  In an opinion full of frolics and detours, she extrapolated a state constitutional “right of procreational autonomy” from the provisions of the state constitution that protect freedom of worship, that prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures, that guarantee freedom of speech, and that regulate the quartering of soldiers in homes.  (See This Week for June 1, 1992.)  She also found that the state constitution protects obscenity.  (See This Week for May 17, 1993.)   
  
Aug. 72006—Outgoing American Bar Association president Michael Greco, a zealous liberal who stacked an ABA task force on presidential signing statements with fervent opponents of the Bush administration and who did his utmost to load the ABA’s judicial-evaluations committee with hard-core partisans, delivers a ridiculously pompous farewell address.  For example:  “Our fellow Americans, as never before, are looking to our Association with hope, with trust, and with respect for our leadership.”  And:  “In our generation, it is the lawyers of America who by destiny and by choice are the guardians of the walls of freedom.  It is the American Bar Association that is protecting the separation of powers and the balance of powers by checking the excesses of any branch of government that would overreach.”
  
Aug. 82005—NARAL unleashes a mendacious television ad against confirmation of John Roberts’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  The ad features a woman injured in the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic, attempts to link her injury to an amicus brief that Roberts filed on behalf of the United States in 1991, and says that Americans should oppose a nominee “whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.”  Never mind that Roberts’s amicus brief, which argued that an 1871 law did not provide a federal cause of action against persons obstructing access to abortion clinics, did not take issue with the many laws that criminalize violence outside abortion clinics and did not in any way “excuse violence against other Americans.”  Never mind that it was ludicrous to suggest that Roberts’s amicus brief was somehow responsible for the 1998 bombing (all the more so as the intervening enactment in 1994 of the so-called FACE Act imposed severe penalties against those obstructing access to abortion clinics yet failed to deter the bombing).  And never mind that Roberts in fact had denounced abortion-clinic bombers as “criminals”. 

Days later, under harsh criticism from its usual allies, NARAL pulls the ad.

2006—In an act of collective idiocy, the ABA’s House of Delegates approves the ABA task force’s insipid report on presidential signing statements, a report that earned scathing criticism from leading academics across the political spectrum. 

  
Aug. 91969—“Now is the time for Helter Skelter,” declares Charles Manson, triggering two nights of vicious killing by the “Manson Family” in Los Angeles.  Some 2½ years later, in its own rampage (see This Week for Feb. 18, 1972), the California supreme court voids the death sentences that had been imposed on Manson and four other Family members. 
  
For an explanation of this recurring feature, see here. 

Tags: This Day in Liberal Activism


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