Head faking the knee jerk

Dana Milbank:

Profiles in Courage, Part I: 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?

...But it's not exactly a mystery where PFAW, a reliable foe of conservative appointees, is heading. "It's safe to say we're not going to take a position in support," Neas said.

PFAW is not the only liberal outfit trying to avoid conservatives' "knee-jerk" charges. 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.

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