Alito Enemy Nan Aron Is Left's Harriet Tubman

Liberal activist Nan Aron graces the front page of the Style section in today's Washington Post in a glowing profile, "Her Idea of Justice: Absolutely Not Alito."

Staff writer Marcia Davis is glowing from the start, excusing an episode of depraved indifference to marine life to liberal Alliance for Justice chief Nan Aron's dogged but failed pursuit of derailing Chief Justice John Roberts's nomination earlier this year:

Nan Aron lost the fish this summer.

Aron, the founder of the Alliance for Justice, one of the liberal armies in the war over the judiciary, has lived in her Woodley Park rowhouse for 30 years. There's a small brick pond in the front yard and, much to the delight of the neighborhood children, she filled it with fish over the summer, about 20 goldfish and koi. But summer was also the start of a season of high-stakes judicial battles.

While Aron and her allies were working long hours trying to defeat the confirmation of now Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., her fish disappeared.

"The problem was I was responsible for the fish," Aron says with a bit of self-deprecating humor. "My one responsibility at home was to feed the fish, talk to the fish and protect their safety, and I'd come home and start counting" and realize that there was trouble.

The casualties of war. But when you come from a family of social activists, you can look into an empty pond and find the positive.

"We'll start again next year and hopefully I'll be a little more attentive," Aron says.

Second-degree fishslaughter aside, however, Aron is portrayed by Davis as a sharp, intelligent, workaholic aggressively pursuing the cause of justice, and deeply revered by not only left-wing allies but conservative critics like former Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein for her work ethic, all well and good for a Style section profile, I suppose, but it's the closing that's the kicker:

There is another poster hanging right by her office desk. It's from her alma mater, Oberlin College, famously a stop on the Underground Railroad, a fact never lost on her.

"Think one person can change the world?" it asks, then answers its own question: "So do we."

In May the Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum wrote up a profile on C. Boyden Gray, an activist from the right who advocates for confirmation of President Bush's Court picks. Birnbaum's page A15 profile is decidedly shorter and less glowing, though not altogether biased against him. You can read that for contrast, here.

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