President Joe Biden is expected to name his Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer any day now. Whomever he chooses, recent history tells us to expect the liberal media to ACTUALLY worry the selection isn’t progressive enough.
When Barack Obama nominated Elena Kagan in 2010, CBS’s Maggie Rodriguez worried that “some analysts” actually believe that Kagan “may actually shift the Court to the right.” MSNBC’s Peter Alexander observed: “On the left, she may not be liberal enough.”
Of Sonia Sotomayor’s 2009 nomination ABC’s Claire Shipman said her case history made it “very hard for people to make the case that she’s a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher. I mean, really, she’s not.” And NPR’s Nina Totenberg absurdly spouted: “You know, for a Democrat, she has a pretty conservative record, a very much in the mainstream record....In fact, on a lot of criminal law issues, you could say that she’s more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nomination in 1993 drew this response from then U.S. News & World Report editor Steven Roberts: “Anybody who expected a raving liberal from Bill Clinton doesn’t know who Bill Clinton is or understand his background.”
The following examples of liberal journalists worrying about Supreme Court nominees not being left enough are from the Media Research Center’s archive:
“When she worked for the Clinton administration, Ms. Kagan asked the President to support a ban on all abortions of viable fetuses except when the mother’s health was at risk. And some analysts have used that example to show that she may actually shift the Court to the right, compared with Justice Stevens.”
— CBS’s Maggie Rodriguez to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on the May 11, 2010 Early Show.
“Who is really most frustrated with the pick? It seems as many liberal groups are upset by this as are conservatives....On the left, she may not be liberal enough - that’s the complaint there. Some progressives say she’s too much of a blank slate to know how she stands on any issue.”
— Anchor Peter Alexander during the 10am ET hour of MSNBC Live, May 11, 2010.
“The selection of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the nation’s 112th justice extends a quarter-century pattern in which Republican presidents generally install strong conservatives on the Supreme Court while Democratic presidents pick candidates who often disappoint their liberal base. Ms. Kagan is certainly too liberal for conservatives, who quickly criticized her nomination on Monday as a radical threat. But much like every other Democratic nominee since the 1960s, she does not fit the profile sought by the left, which hungers for a full-throated counterweight to the Court’s conservative leader, Justice Antonin Scalia.”
— New York Times reporter Peter Baker in a May 11, 2010 front-page “news analysis.”
ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman: “I think it’s also hard when you look at [Supreme Court nominee Sonia] Sotomayor’s record and look at the cases, it’s very hard for people to make the case that she’s a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher. I mean, really, she’s not....”
Liberal Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker: “As Claire just said, her opinions don’t show — she is certainly liberal, she’s called herself ‘liberal’ — but she’s nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”
— ABC’s This Week, June 7, 2009.
“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.”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer opening Today, May 28, 2009.
Anchor Katie Couric: “Pundits usually label judges as either liberal or conservative, but that won’t be easy with Judge Sotomayor...”
Correspondent Wyatt Andrews: “[President Obama] has found a judge with 17 years experience, but no clear ideology on discrimination, gay rights, or abortion, and who can’t be easily defined by political labels.”
— CBS Evening News, May 27, 2009.
“You know, for a Democrat, she has a pretty conservative record, a very much in the mainstream record....In fact, on a lot of criminal law issues, you could say that she’s more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia, perhaps.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on PBS’s Charlie Rose, July 13, 2009.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG
“I think this nominee is close to Bill Clinton’s view of the world...anybody who expected a raving liberal from Bill Clinton doesn’t know who Bill Clinton is or understand his background.”
— U.S. News & World Report Associate Editor Steven Roberts on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, June 15, 1993 Fox Morning News.
“Whenever Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist finds himself in the minority - something that may happen with increasing frequency now that the moderately conservative [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg is replacing the staunchly conservative White - the moderate Stevens, if he is in the majority, would have the power...to decide which justice will write the opinion for the court.”
— Washington Post reporter Al Kamen, July 30, 1993.
“This is a President [Bill Clinton] who really believes and takes the Supreme Court very seriously. That hasn’t always been the case in recent years. You’ve had some obscure and ideological choices.”
— Newsweek Senior Editor and CBS News Consultant Joe Klein, discussing Stephen Breyer nomination on May 15, 1994 CBS Evening News.