ABC Legal Analyst Admits to Media's 'Jerry Springer-esque' Supreme Court Commentary

The recent additions of Justices Jonathan Roberts and Samuel Alito have admittedly changed the balance of power in the Supreme Court. It was inevitable that the Court would take a conservative turn. Equally inevitable was the media's hysterical reaction.

A narrow decision on partial birth abortion was described as reversing the precedent of Roe vs. Wade. A school zoning decision was touted by irresponsible commentators as having overturned Brown v. Board of Education. These decisions, and others, have led to personal attacks upon Roberts and Alito, as well as public pleas from legal analysts to the Court's new swing vote Justice Kennedy to "moderate" his position.

The one-sided coverage was apparently too much for ABC correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg, who blasted the media in her July 20 article "The Sky's Still up There." Crawford Greenburg, who is an attorney and author of a book about the Supreme Court, apparently wasn't willing to compromise her credentials and chose to expose media bias, rather than join in it.

In a scathing critique, Crawford Greenburg mocked an article by Harvard Law educated professor Joseph Thai in the Charlotte Observer, as well as a New York Times column by Adam Cohen.

Crawford Greenburg wrote about Thai:

Now lots of people read the Charlotte Observer, and many think that law professors have some kind of special insight into what the Court does. They might actually take Thai at his word—even though his words mischaracterize what the Court did and distort the debate over where it is headed.

Thai flatly declares that “in one questionable decision after another,” the Court this term “made it dramatically more difficult, if not impossible, for ordinary Americans to have their day in court.”

Difficult, if not impossible, for ordinary Americans to have their day in court? With apologies to Justice Scalia, this assertion cannot be taken seriously.

And maybe I wouldn’t if Thai were the only one talking in a tabloid-style, Jerry Springer-esque tone.

Crawford Greenburg further ridiculed Thai's article:

But here’s the money quote from Thai. Under the new Roberts Court, “if the spirit moved him, Bush may build an evangelical church tomorrow with taxpayer dollars, and no court could check him.”

There's one word for that: preposterous.

As to Cohen, Crawford Greenburg continues:

Both Thai and Cohen write about how the court put limits on punitive damages in the Philip Morris case—and both conveniently fail to mention how the justices voted.

Here’s Cohen: “The justices invoked the due process clause in a novel way to overturn a jury’s award of $79.5 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris, which for decades misrepresented the harm of smoking. It is hard to imagine that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, who were in the majority, would have supported this sort of ‘judge-made law’ as readily if the beneficiary were not a corporation.”

Hmmm…well what about Justice Breyer, who wrote the decision? Or Justice Souter, who also joined it?

Crawford Greenburg summarizes her position as follows: "...some of the liberal commentary on the Court since the justices packed up and left town has been almost breathtaking in its over-the-top hysteria. That does no one any favors: not liberals or conservatives—and certainly not the Court itself."

In her final zinger, Crawford Greenburg nailed the liberal exaggerators as "Chicken Littles with their hair on fire."

Having already establshed herself as an serious commentator and author, Crawford Greenburg has wisely decided to distance herself from the media's biased reporting.




Judiciary Roberts Nomination Media Bias Debate Alito Nomination New York Times Online Media Jan Crawford Greenburg