It was opposition research generated by pro-abortion group NARAL -- and distributed to Democratic operatives working against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts -- that spurred these operatives to encourage reporters in Washington to look into the Roberts' adoption process.
"They [NARAL and other anti-Roberts groups] went into this with a laundry list of things, and the idea that given what was at stake nothing was out of bounds," says a Democratic lobbyist who is part of the Roberts fight. "That's why you saw that ridiculous Roberts-is-gay thing spinning through the blogosphere, and why you had serious reporters looking at the adoption issue."
Crude and unprincipled attempts to smear Roberts will help his confirmation rather than hurt it, since most people don't subvert their sense of fairness over political goals. That fact doesn't register to groups like NARAL, who project their outlook to everyone else.
This speaks to a larger problem that the Democrats have - how to keep the radical interest groups under their tent in line while they try to reach out to mainstream America. But more on that in a future column.
PS - NARAL and ProChoice America have produced a TV ad opposing the Roberts nomination. It seems that Roberts filing briefs in favor of groups like Operation Rescue means that he supports abortion bombings. Guilt by association of the rankest kind, but in concert with the Democrat strategy of trying to scare people rather than debate ideas.
UPDATE: I was planning to do a fisking of the NARAL ad, but John Hinderacker of Powerline has already done it here (H/T Mr. Right). The whole article is solid, but Hinderacker saves the best for last:
So NARAL misrepresents the Bray case in every particular. Roberts didn't "support violent fringe groups" or a "convicted clinic bomber." He supported the federal government's position on a specific question of law--correctly, as the Court found. NARAL's reference to a "convicted clinic bomber" is especially outrageous. The Bray case had nothing to do with a bombing by Eric Rudolph or anyone else, and Rudolph attacked the Birmingham clinic--the bombing that is referred to in the NARAL ad--eight years after Roberts wrote the brief on the Section 1985(3) issues.
For NARAL to suggest that John Roberts has ever done anything to support violence against abortion clinics (or anything else) is so far outside the bounds of civilized debate that one can hope that, even in today's far-gone Democratic Party, sane voices will be raised to denounce NARAL's advertising campaign.
Don't hold your breath waiting, John. As they say, read the whole thing.