In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of DC handgun ban on Thursday, CNN’s "Newsroom" program ran a report on both the sides of the gun case, in which the pro-gun control advocate was given twice the amount of air time as the gun rights advocate. The report, by CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena, ran twice within 20 minutes; first, at the top of the 10 am hour of "Newsroom," minutes before the decision was released, and then immediately after the news of the decision broke.
In addition to this, when the 5-4 decision upholding the lower court’s finding that the ban was unconstitutional, the "Newsroom" program initially ran a graphic that read, "Supreme Ct. Kills Handgun Ban: Overrules DC Law." The graphic ran for just under a minute until being replaced by another that read, "Supreme Ct. Overrules Gun Ban: Overrules DC Law Forbidding Handguns."
Just over an hour after the Supreme Court’s ruling came down, near the bottom half of the 11 am Eastern hour of "Newsroom," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, when asked about the local impact of the decision, snarked that "the communities that care about safety and communities that don't want the bad effects of guns will try to rewrite their regulations in line with what they think the Court decided."
By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.
Remember the Boumediene decisions? The one where the Supreme Court ignored Congress' orders to strip them of jurisdiction? One of the major issues in this case was the fact that the Court trampled all over Congress' ability to determine the limits of judicial oversight. And virtually no mainstream 'news' organ picked up on that fact- nstead they universally trumpeted how the eeevil Bush Adminstraion had been forced to observe the law'. The LA Times, for example, wrote on their front page,
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected for the third time President Bush's policy of holding foreign prisoners under exclusive control of the military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ruling that the men have a right to seek their freedom before a federal judge. The justices said the Constitution from the beginning enshrined the "privilege of habeas corpus" -- or the right to go before a judge -- as one of the safeguards of liberty. And that right extends even to foreigners captured in the war on terrorism, the high court said, particularly when they have been held for as long as six years without charges.
. The article admits that Congress stripped jurisdiction from the judiciary in 2006, writing,
After that setback, the administration went to Congress, still under GOP control, and won a law authorizing trials through military commissions. The law also stripped all the foreign "enemy combatants" of their right to go to court via a writ of habeas corpus.
but clearly agreeing with the idea that foreign, unlawful combatants have more rights than lawful prisoners-of-war.
CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, when asked about the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in the DC handgun ban case on Monday’s "American Morning," repeated the gun control lobby’s argument that "most federal courts and the Supreme Court has found is that really doesn't mean that you can possess a gun. It means that the military can possess a gun, that it's a collective right." She later made the usual liberal claim that the current Supreme Court is "conservative."
"American Morning" co-host John Roberts asked Hostin about the Supreme Court case 48 minutes into the 6 am hour of the CNN program, since the Court’s decision on the handgun ban is expected to come down by the end of June. For the bulk of segment, the legal analyst detailed the origin of the case and gave a summary of what took place during the oral arguments in March.
In a Wednesday column decrying John McCain's condemnation of the Supreme Court's ruling giving Guantanamo detainees access to the courts, former Washington Post reporter and editor Ruth Marcus illustrated that no matter how unexcited conservatives may be about McCain liberals still see him as dangerous as she expressed fear of what McCain's efforts to appease conservatives will mean for the Supreme Court if he wins:
As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court.
Marcus, the Post's deputy national editor from 1999 through 2002 (bio), noted that “the oldest justices are also the most liberal,” so she worried “a President McCain could shift the court significantly to the right” while, she lamented, “a President Obama would be lucky, even with a Democratic Senate, to nudge the court even a bit in a liberal direction.”
In case you missed it, the Supreme Court Thursday bestowed Constitutional rights to terrorists currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
As my colleague Brent Baker reported hours ago, the broadcast evening news programs predictably saw this decision as a stinging defeat for the Bush administration that could prove tremendously embarrassing to the president.
Almost prophetically, conservative radio talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin stated earlier in the day that reporters making such statements "are lying through their teeth. They are propagandists, spewing the talking points of the enemy."
Beginning his program Thursday, Levin took the Supreme Court to task for this ruling, as well as the predictable standing ovation from the media, crescendoing to the following conclusion that should be required reading for all Americans interested in the truth concerning this matter (ten minute audio available here, picture courtesy Radcity):
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.
If we needed more proof that CNN's legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is one of the most disingenuous legal minds of our day, the Saginaw News helped us out with that quest. Toobin made an appearance at a Midland, MI event this week where, among other comments, he ridiculously claimed that the left leaning Justices that sit on the Supreme Court are "surprisingly moderate."
We will remember one of Toobin's other recent absurdities when he claimed that the GOP likes voter I.D. laws because they "stop Democrats from voting," despite the fact that all evidence shows that requiring an I.D. has not stopped anyone from voting.
But the truly "stark contrast" was how Lewis treated the respective camps with regard to their hypothetical Supreme Court nominations. Lewis painted an uninvolved McCain as paying "fealty" to "the conservative faithful," while an engaged Obama would be merely trying to reverse the "current conservative dominance of the courts" without displaying any liberal ideological thrust of his own.
Back in 2003, Lewis identified Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch as a "leading conservative," but Sen. Ted Kennedy was simply "Democrat of Massachusetts."
His Wednesday report showed a similar contrast, with tons of "conservatives" (18 in all in a 1,400-word story) emanating from the McCain camp but not a single "liberal" to be found around Obama.
In America, you need to show identification to buy alcohol, get into a bar, or apply for a job. Yet, for some reason, liberal media members think that Republicans who advocate voter ID laws do so exclusively to prevent Democrats from going to polling booths.
Such was clearly evident Friday evening when Bill Moyers discussed some recent Supreme Court rulings with CNN and New Yorker magazine's legal affairs analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Better strap yourself in tightly, for the following from "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS is guaranteed to offend all that actually believe voter identification should be required in every state (video embedded right):
Although a November ballot measure could encourage higher turnout by conservatives who are not naturally aligned with McCain, it also could alienate moderates and young voters, who polls show are far more accepting of same-sex marriage.
Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had sketched out a more centrist path than the court's. The decision could encourage Democratic interest groups to press candidates to extend their support for civil unions to same-sex marriage itself.
So the danger for McCain is that those rascally social conservatives could doom his chances to win the White House. The danger for Democrats, that the left-wing activists might rattle the cage a bit more than usual. But the possibility of socially conservative but fiscally liberal Democrats in swing states like Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, or Colorado once again eluding the Democratic vote was dismissed out of hand.
The Catholic-majority Supreme Court has no respect for nuns. That's the new media meme about a recent Supreme Court ruling upholding an Indiana voter ID law. That very same law, the media would have us believe, "barred" or "turned away" from voting 12 nuns in South Bend on the Hoosier State's May 6 primary. Of course as a simple read of the Indiana Secretary of State's Web site shows, that's utter nun-sense. but Time's Karen Tumulty has picked up on it twice over at that magazine's Swampland blog.
This from a post yesterday informing readers of a news conference to be held today at 1 p.m. EDT:
Surely, our majority-Catholic Supreme Court should have known better than to get on the wrong side of the Sisters. As we wrote earlier, the first victims of the new ruling on Voter ID were elderly nuns in Indiana. This just in, in my emailbox: The nuns of Missouri rap the Supreme Court's knuckles with a great big ruler:
At least they're open about it: the New York Times disdains Supreme Court justices who hew to the principles upon which this country was founded. The Times's admission came in the course of an editorial calling on Obama and Clinton to put aside their bickering and focus on beating John McCain. That is vital, in the Times's view, given McCain's pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices in the mold of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Writes the Times [emphasis added]:
Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict adherence to the Founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. That is just what the country does not need.
Those opposed to the Roe v Wade abortion decision are “the far right” in the vernacular of the Associated Press. In a dispatch datelined from Winston-Salem, North Carolina where John McCain delivered an address Tuesday castigating Barack Obama for voting against the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, as he pledged to name non-activist judges, reporter Libby Quaid wrote:
McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn't mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
On last night's "Verdict" with Dan Abrams, Dan and guest [Constitutional Law Professor] Jonathan Turley dissected Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After dissenting with Scalia's claim that it was Al Gore "who brought it (election 2000) into the Florida courts," Turley then made the following claim:
Look, both sides were challenging this question. The funny thing of course is that Al Gore appears to have won Florida. And so, when Justice Scalia says he brought this trouble upon himself, that‘s not exactly fair since he apparently won the state, did not get credit for the state and ultimately lost the presidency over that failure.
Monday’s "The Situation Roon" followed-up on Kelli Arena and Wolf Blitzer’s biased reporting on the Supreme Court upholding Indiana’s voter ID law with two segments featuring five talking heads -- four liberals to one conservative. In the first segment, Donna Brazile, who appeared in Arena’s report via sound bite and continued her "voter suppression" argument, faced-off against Republican strategist John Feehery, who effectively countered the liberal argument by bringing up the fact that he had to show ID in order to enter the CNN studio. In the second segment, Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, and Gloria Borger picked up on Brazile’s suppression argument and portrayed the Court’s decision as possibly "something sinister" and a "partisan enterprise."
Theoretically one of the pluses of reading British newspaper coverage of American politics is that the reporters and editors would exhibit a certain detachment from the political biases that much more easily ensnare domestic reporters. That often doesn't play out in practice, however, as today's Financial Times demonstrates with a four-paragraph brief on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding an Indiana law requiring voter identification for voting.
"Supreme Court ruling gives Republicans a boost," blares the headline for reporter Patti Waldmeir's April 29 story. While Waldmeir avoided any references to the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, she saw fit to quote Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) attacking the 6-3 decision as "a blow to what America stands for -- equal access to the polls."
Waldmeir failed to find a Republican to counter Schumer. What's more, the FT reporter failed to note that Indiana voters can always vote with a provisional ballot if they cannot or will not present a valid photo ID. From the Web page for the Indiana Secretary of State:
Tuesday's New York Times led with the Supreme Court ruling, by a vote of 6-3, to uphold an Indiana law, favored by conservatives, requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Huffy Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse called it a "splintered decision," apparently code for close decisions she doesn't approve of. (See here for more journalistic "splintering.")
During a segment on Monday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer and CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena framed the Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana’s "strict" voter ID law according to the liberal view (a law so "strict" that it calls for the voter show photo ID before voting). Arena’s report offered three critics of the decision to only one supporter, who happened to be Indiana’s Secretary of State. One of the three critics was a quadriplegic who apparently "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was" before getting an ID in Indiana. After Arena’s report, Blitzer tried to spin this as a decision by Republican-appointed justices, despite the fact it was John Paul Stevens, one of the Court’s most liberal members, who wrote the opinion. [audio available here]
Blitzer introduced Arena’s report by describing the decision as having "an enormous impact," and asked Arena to describe "the enormity of what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided." She then first harkened back to the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000. "The 2000 presidential race raised questions about election integrity. And Democrats say today's Supreme Court ruling may raise even more."
Arena then played three sound bites in a row of critics of the voter ID law. In the first sound bite, Donna Brazile charged that the "voter ID scam is a suppression tactic used by many people to undermine the right to vote in this country." In the second, Melissa Madill, identified as an "Indiana voting rights advocate," stated that it was "infuriating that people who really need to impact the system the most are being denied the right to do so." In the last sound bite, Karen Vaughn, who Arena introduced as "a quadriplegic who doesn't have a driver's license or a passport," and who "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was," accused the supporters of the law of not caring about people like her.
The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law today in a 6-3 decision. In an earlier post, Ken Shepherd pointed out that Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman framed the ruling as "splintered." While the four conservative Justices joined in the majority opinion, the decision itself was written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, and so Sherman's terminology is questionable at the very least.
But this isn't the first time Sherman has used the phrase "splintered." When the Supreme Court issued its death penalty ruling two weeks ago, Sherman wrote:
U.S. executions are all but sure to resume soon after a nationwide halt, cleared Wednesday by a splintered Supreme Court that approved the most widely used method of lethal injection.
Incredibly, Sherman framed this decision as being made by the "conservative court led by Chief Justice John Roberts," even though it was a 7-2 decision.
In a 10:15 EDT post today at CNN.com, producer Bill Mears noted the 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring photo ID in order to vote. Yet Mears left out that Democrats who challenged the law were unable to produce a single voter who could prove he or she was unable to vote due to the law nor did Mears point out mechanisms the Indiana law has in place for provisional balloting and free voter ID cards.
Here's Mears's four-paragraph blog post at the CNN Political Ticker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure for capital punishment. The decision will likely end self-imposed death penalty moratoriums in several states. As of writing this article, Virginia had already lifted its moratorium.
The decision had been long-awaited by advocates on both sides of the death penalty debate. Court prognosticators had mostly believed the court would uphold Kentucky's lethal injection program. But it was a surprise to many that the affirmance came with a 7-2 vote. The Roberts court has been known for a series of contentious 5-4 splits of any number of decisions, often with Justice Kennedy being the key swing vote.
In the Roberts court a 7-2 decision is a landslide, but that did not stop Associated Press writer Mark Sherman from describing that the "splintered Supreme Court cleared the way" for the resumption of capital punishment.
While the word "humane" does appear within the Supreme Court's ruling today upholding Kentucky's lethal injection method of execution, is it biased of Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage to put the term in quote marks in his lede? I'm leaning towards yes.:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court cleared the way today for executions to resume across the nation, ruling that lethal injections, if properly carried out, are a "humane" means of ending a condemned individual's life.
The court upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injections by a surprisingly large 7-2 vote.
The Newsweek article "When Reason Meets Rifles" discusses the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. The basic dispute in the case is whether D.C.'s outright handgun ban and de facto ban on rifles, shotguns, and other firearms are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Notice that the bias begins in the title itself, where "reason" and "rifles" are implied to be mutually exclusive concepts.
Could this photo be a first? It shows a card-carrying member of the MSM shooting a handgun. That's Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News legal correspondent. The clip, pun intended, of Greenburg on the firing range was part of a segment she narrated on today's Good Morning America on a case to be argued before the Supreme Court today. At issue is the District of Columbia's law banning handguns. The case comes before the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. invalidated the law. The decision could be a landmark, potentially the first time the Supreme Court rules squarely on the issue of whether the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to bear arms.
The segment was surprisingly respectful of the right to bear arms. Beyond Greenburg's personal marksmanship demonstration, the segment began with a sympathetic depiction of the plight of Shelly Parker, the DC resident who started the case by suing the city over its gun ban.
Here in Ithaca and no doubt in other liberal bastions across the land, you can still see cars festooned with those bitter bumper stickers: "Re-Defeat Bush!" and "Bush: Selected, Not Elected!" Those sentiments remain reflected in an MSM still smarting from Florida 2000. All of which made Ann Curry's words on this morning's Today, announcing the ascendancy of Raul Castro in Cuba, so ironic.
ANN CURRY: In the news this morning, we begin with Cuba and its [first] new president in nearly half a century. Raul Castro was officially chosen on Sunday to take over from his brother Fidel who announced his retirement last week.
Noting Sen. Barack Obama's recent statement that he considers the Second Amendment an individual right -- setting aside for a moment his pro-gun control record and defense of the D.C. handgun ban -- ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg dismissed private gun ownership as constitutionally protected, holding instead that the "orthodox" view defends only a state's right.
Here's the relevant portion from a February 15 entry at Greenburg's Legalities blog (emphasis mine):
New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt got angry this week. Not at the Times' shoddy, statistically worthless slam of U.S. veterans that appeared on last Sunday's front page (next week, perhaps?), but at conservative blogger Ed Whelan, for having the temerity of bringing up a possible conflict of interest involving the Times' Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse.
Whelan, who is President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and writes the "Bench Memos" blog at National Review Online, unearthed the Supreme Court reporter's controversial tie last month.
On January 9, a California appeals court struck down San Francisco's 2005 ban on handguns, citing that local governments lack authority under California law to enact such a ban (h/t NewsBusters reader John Kernkamp).
While this is a state law struck down on state constitutional grounds, not the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is a major victory for gun rights advocates -- in a liberal Democratic state no less -- in a presidential election year in which the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a 2nd Amendment case in March (District of Columbia v. Heller).
Yet while the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko covered the story on January 10, I'm having trouble finding any coverage elsewhere in the media. When searching Nexis, I found no coverage of the San Francisco gun ban story in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, nor broadcast networks ABC, CBS, or NBC.
Meanwhile, as the Chronicle's Egelko noted in a January 14 story, San Francisco's district attorney has filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing the District of Columbia in its appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the District's 1976 handgun ban: