NPR’s Legal Affairs / Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg loves to cast conservatives as fringy. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated then-Circuit Court Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court. At the time, Totenberg seemed to be suffering from a fixation on the word “very,” calling Roberts “very, very conservative” and “very, very, very conservative.”
Even though Roberts voted for Obamacare last year, Totenberg insisted last week on the news magazine "Here and Now" (a new joint venture of NPR and Boston NPR station WBUR) that he was still “very, very conservative.” Maybe with more Roberts rulings that she likes, she'll whittle it down to “very conservative.” For now, "This is a very, very conservative justice who also believes in a certain level of , as he puts it, modesty, meaning don’t do it all at once if you can do it one step at a time."
Supreme Court reporter Ariane deVogue of ABCNews.com covered the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in a strange and very slanted way: in light of how an "abortion backlash persists" and the high court will rule on “gay marriage” in the coming months. At this point, her liberal experts are willing to admit Roe was too broadly decided – at least in terms of how it unintentionally spurred a vibrant pro-life movement and elected conservatives like Ronald Reagan to office.
All of deVogue’s quoted experts were looking for a way for the Supreme Court to give the leftist LGBT lobbyists a victory without helping conservatives in any political way:
Readers are advised to remove all food, fluids, and flammables from proximity to their computers before proceeding. You've been warned.
NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show actually said that when it comes to nominating judges, "A Democratic president is more likely to appoint somebody near the middle who is less ideological" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the eve of the Supreme Court's monumental decision on Obama-care Thursday morning, New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner chided Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for politicizing the bench in "A Dissent By Scalia Is Criticized As Political." But when liberal Justices get political, they are "'passionate and pointed" and finding their own voice.
Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect history textbooks to present and analyze events and epochs with complete objectivity. But it’s entirely reasonable to demand that they don’t actively reinforce the news media’s liberal bias when it comes to recent history and individuals who are still alive and active in shaping that history.
Yet commonly used American history textbooks have eschewed historical analysis when discussing recent Supreme Court justices, and in its place substituted partisan political commentary.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on a trip underwritten by the U.S. State Department (aren't justices expected to keep their distances from the government to protect their perceived impartiality?), was in Egypt on Wednesday at a Cairo University law school seminar. While there, according to the Associated Press's Mark Sherman, she told students that (in Sherman's words) "she was inspired by last year's protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime" and to speak to them (in her words) "during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state." The news that Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties now control about 75% of the seats in the country's parliament seems not to have registered with Ginsburg or Sherman -- or, for that matter, the State Department.
Sherman's AP story failed to note what Ms. Ginsburg said about the U.S. Constitution in an Egyptian TV interview, as did virtually all of the rest of the establishment press. ABC's Ariane de Vogue is currently the most notable exception, but as readers will see, she clearly buried the lede. Here are key paragraphs from her report (the related video is at Hot Air; the relevant portion begins at the 9:28 mark; bolds are mine):
On Fox News this weekend, Jon Stewart famously denied that the New York Times pushes a liberal agenda. Perhaps the man from Comedy Central sees the paper as "moderate." After all, the Times itself apparently doesn't believe there are any liberals on the Supreme Court. In an editorial today, the paper described Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and every other member of her wing of the Court, as "moderate."
The Times' mind-boggling notion of what constitutes a "moderate" came in its editorial blasting the Supreme Court's decision of yesterday throwing out a huge class-action sex-discrimination case against Wal-Mart.
Here's the relevant excerpt from the editorial [emphasis added]:
Didn't Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy get the word? Barack Obama's re-election is all but guaranteed if you believe the liberal mainstream media. Just today the CNBC head of news reported the belief that Obama's re-election would be guaranteed by the actions of the Fed. So why the concern about the health of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer? Could it be that Kennedy doesn't quite (GASP!) believe in the political invincibility of the Lightworker?
Apparently such "heretical" thoughts must have occurred to Professor Kennedy judging by his New Republic article in which he urges the two aging justices to retire now because of the inference that they could die during a Republican administration elected next year and be replaced by (EEK!) conservatives. Of course, Kennedy tries, not too successfully, to be delicate in his suggestion:
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer should soon retire. That would be the responsible thing for them to do. Both have served with distinction on the Supreme Court for a substantial period of time; Ginsburg for almost 18 years, Breyer for 17. Both are unlikely to be able to outlast a two-term Republican presidential administration, should one supersede the Obama administration following the 2012 election. What’s more, both are, well, old: Ginsburg is now 78, the senior sitting justice. Breyer is 72.
Twitter can be a very revealing place to learn about "objective" journalists. ABC Nightline anchor Terry Moran tweeted on Tuesday there was a "Great piece" by Newsweek columnist Dahlia Lithwick on the liberal site Slate.com suggesting that Sarah Palin owed her every success to the real Mama Grizzly, leftist Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who never found an abortion she wouldn't defend. Palin was a fraud next to the real feminist. But Moran (and Lithwick) blamed their fellow liberals for not supporting a left-wing Palin figure:
In a thoughtful piece in the New York Times, Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister argued that Democrats have given up on full-throated feminism, and in doing so have ceded the field to Palin and her clan of Grizzlies. Holmes and Traister point out the irony that it was progressives who launched Palin's meteoric rise: "As a teen, she played basketball thanks to Title IX; as an adult, she enjoyed a professional life made possible by the involvement of her load-bearing husband Todd, entering Alaska's governor's mansion at 42 with four children in tow and giving birth to a fifth while there."
In a July 7 New York Times Magazine article ("The Place of Women on the Court"; HT to an e-mailer) apparently scheduled to appear in its July 12 print edition (based on its URL), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Times's Emily Bazelon that "at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
Who is this "we" Ginsburg refers to?
Alleged reporter Bazelon did not follow up on this astounding admission.
Here, in full context of the Q&A discussion about women's reproductive rights, is Justice Ginsburg's statement:
If you stand in the way of President Barack Obama's agenda, beware because there may be a litany of consequences that could result from your act - regardless if the obstacle is legitimate or not.
On June 8, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a stay to review an appeal by a trio of Indiana pension and construction funds that own a part of Chrysler's secured debt. They claimed the administration's handling of the deal that would have sold Chrysler's assets to Italian automaker Fiat (BIT:F) arbitrarily threw 150 years of bankruptcy law out without process of law.
Thursday night, as my colleague Brent Baker noted, ABC and NBC fretted that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor might not adhere to a strict liberal orthodoxy on abortion. NBC reporter Pete Williams said Sotomayor’s views on abortion were a “mystery,” while ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg declared “both sides in the contentious debate want to know more.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews sounded the same alarm: “Pro-abortion rights groups worried aloud today that the President — who promised an abortion rights nominee — never asked Sotomayor, who is Catholic, where she stands.”
On Thursday’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer opened the show by demanding to know “Where does she stand? Liberal activists voicing concerns over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her stance on abortion. This morning, they’re demanding to know if she’s pro-choice or pro-life — and why President Obama never asked.”
But this isn’t the first time the networks have channeled the worries of liberal pro-abortion groups about a Democratic President’s Supreme Court nominee.
The Washington Post front page for May 27, 2009 announces the Sonia Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court with this large headline: "First Latina Picked for Supreme Court; GOP Faces Delicate Task in Opposition." There’s no reference to Sotomayor being a liberal.
Below that is a story on her ethnic identity headlined "Heritage Shapes Judge’s Perspective." Reporters Amy Goldstein and Jerry Markon notice three paragraphs in that she spoke at a conference "bluntly rejecting the argument of conservative legal thinkers that judges should decide cases purely on close readings of facts and law, excluding their own frames of reference." How did previous Supreme Court nominations do in labeling the ideology of nominees? Unsurprisingly the Post highlighted the conservatism of recent Republican nominees, but placed Democratic nominees in the middle.
Here’s a list of Washington Post front-page headlines on the first day after the official nomination that hinted at an ideology:
Samuel Alito (November 1, 2005)
"Alito Nomination Sets Stage for Ideological Battle; Bush's Court Pick Is Appeals Judge With Record of Conservative Rulings"
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday twice labeled President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a “moderate liberal.” On American Morning, minutes after the Latina judge’s name emerged near the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour, Toobin predicted that she would “probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Hours later, during The Situation Room program, he predicted that Sotomayor, if confirmed, would rule as a “moderate liberal, like Ginsburg and Breyer.”
American Morning anchor T. J. Holmes brought on the legal analyst to discuss the Obama nominee. Toobin first outlined that Sotomayor was “a very eminent judge....She brings a certain bipartisan aura, because she was originally appointed to the federal district court by the first President Bush....[T]his looks like a very solid pick, someone who will probably have very little trouble getting confirmed, and who will be a voice like David Souter for moderate liberalism.” Minutes before on the CNN program, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz referred to the nominee as “moderate and to the left.” Holmes followed up on this note, and asked, “Is that about right?”
The New York Times sent veteran Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse into retirement in grand style on Sunday, turning over to her the front page of the Week in Review for "2,691 Decisions," a title marking the number of court cases she had covered during her tenure.
Unmentioned were her off-the-clock denunciations of conservatives, such as her infamous speech at Harvard in June 2006 when she tore into the Bush administration. What was included: Her clear belief that the world is a better place with Anthony Kennedy on the Court and Robert Bork not.
First, some of what Greenhouse told Harvard students in 2006:
...our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."
Only one Supreme Court Justice seemed keen on overturning Indiana's voter identification law, Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage noted in a January 9 article at latimes.com. That would be liberal Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while Savage noted that "conservatives [were] leading the way," in questioning the validity of the Indiana Democrats' complaint about the law, he failed to note Ginsburg's ideological leanings. Nor did he suggest she's out on a far-left limb since none of other liberal colleagues shared her concerns: