Regarding your review of Capitol Games by Timothy Phelps and Helen Winternitz ("The low road to the high court," Aug. 10) the authors' strategy is obvious. First, they paint conservative activists and groups (most notably me and mine) as a threat to the Republic. They use more than a dozen labels for conservative groups--right wing, hardline, radical, extremist, fringe, far-right, and zealot are just a few--but use only one for liberal groups--liberal. They describe People for the American Way as "an organization with a broad membership of individual donors." While they may choose to compromise their objectivity, they at least should have given equally pejorative time to both sides.
To create guilt by association, Phelps and Winternitz insist that Clarence Thomas courted and schmoozed us so we would help put him on the Supreme Court. As the individual who they claim "handles the tactics of judicial appointments for the right wing," I am stating categorically here that this assertion is a shameless lie. If there was any courting, conservatives encouraged Clarence Thomas to consider judicial service; he was perfectly content to serve the best he could right where he was.
Your reviewer refers to the nominee's "preposterous statement that he had never discussed or debated Roe v. Wade," and claims Judge Thomas failed to "answer questions truthfully" but "dissembled and evaded." Judge Thomas responded to the dozens of inappropriate questions attempting to elicit a public commitment on the abortion issue by saying he did not recall debating the contents of Roe v. Wade, that it would compromise his judicial integrity to state whether that decision had been correctly decided, and that his personal opinion on abortion was irrelevant to his duties as a judge. There is absolutely nothing in Thomas' record, or in the hearing proceedings, to contradict this statement. Liberal groups even sponsored newspaper ads calling on people with contrary evidence to come forward. No one did. The continuing suggestion that Thomas lied (dissembled and evaded) is offensive.
Thomas L. Jipping
Legal Affairs Analyst
Coalitions for America