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The Edward R. Murrow room at the National Press Club was filled with 70 chairs on the afternoon of Sept. 1 for a press conference by a group billing itself as “Law Professors Against Roberts.” The group ostensibly consisted of 160 signatories to a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts Jr. But as the 2:30 p.m. start time approached, the event appeared to have attracted only one reporter and a C-SPAN camera crew. As organizer Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor, prepared to give his opening statement, staffers and interns from the Alliance for Justice hustled into the front row with the apparent purpose of making the room appear full for the camera. Chemerinsky and Georgetown University Law Center’s Peter Edelman then took turns denouncing Roberts in terms remarkably similar to those used two days earlier at an event in an adjoining room held by Alliance President Nan Aron. Chemerinsky says he began circulating the letter via e-mail just three days earlier. “Our hope is members of the Senate committee will be moved by the letter,” he says. But who paid for the fancy room at the club? “I don’t know,” Chemerinsky says, motioning to an Alliance for Justice publicist hovering nearby. “You’d have to ask her.”

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