U.S. Supreme Court
Today attorneys for the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List will appear before the Supreme Court regarding a challenge to an Ohio law which they charge chills free speech. This legal saga began when an embittered former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) initiated a false advertising complaint against the organization for ads the List ran critical of Dreihaus, a pro-life Democrat, for his support of ObamaCare.
In Saturday's Wall Street Journal, Susan B. Anthony List attorneys Michael Carvin and Yaakov Roth explained the constitutional and practical case for why "Courts Should Stay Out of Political Fact-Checking." Read an excerpt (emphasis ours) below the page break and share your thoughts in the comments section and/or tell us what else is on your mind in this today's open thread.
Matea Gold and Robert Barnes utterly failed this morning as ostensibly objective journalists. In their front-page stories covering yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Washington Post staffers front-loaded their stories with melodramatic political language suitable for a left-wing "campaign finance reform" group's press release rather than objective news copy.
"An elite class of wealthy donors who have gained mounting influence in campaigns now has the ability to exert even greater sway," Gold groused in her lead graf. In the column to her right, Barnes, the Post's Supreme Court correspondent began by offering that:
USA Today's Richard Wolf and Fredreka Schouten wasted no time this morning distorting the Supreme Court's April 2 ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, which essentially holds that a provision of federal law setting an aggregate limit on an individual's campaign contributions violates the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.
Wolf and Schouten, however, practically endorsed the lament of liberal detractors, opening their story with a loaded lead paragraph that had nothing to do with the merits of the case and followed up by weaving a narrative focused on the "bitter national debate" about campaign finance rather than strictly adhering to the constitutional merits of the Court's ruling.
One of the big steps in winning a social or political battle these days is defining the terms to be used in the debate. Remember how an “unborn child” became an antiseptic “fetus” during the start of the abortion debate? And how left-wingers now call themselves “progressives” since George H. W. Bush turned “liberal” into a slur during his 1988 presidential campaign?
According to a Thursday post by Daily Beast Washington reporter Michelle Cottle, the latest example of this principle is the Family Research Council's use of the phrase “natural marriage” instead of “traditional marriage,” a move to change the terms of the debate because the conservative organization had been “getting its butt kicked.”
"Well, then," Jesus said, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." (Mark 12:17 Living Paraphrase)
When considering what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, what happens when the federal government seeks to replace God by defining "church" and when life begins to have value, the latter having been done in Roe vs. Wade and subsequent court rulings?
When the Supreme Court sat yesterday to hear the matter of NLRB v. Noel Canning, virtually every justice was highly skeptical of the Obama administration's claim that President Obama's January 2012 "recess appointments" were a valid exercise of his constitutional authority. After all, the president made the appointments when the U.S. Senate was technically in session -- a minutes-long pro forma session, but in session nonetheless. Even former Obama solicitor general Elena Kagan, no conservative she, seemed critical of the White House's arguments.
And yet when MSNBC's Adam Serwer covered the story for the Lean Forward network's website, he predictably spun the matter as the conservative wing of the Court leading the way for an outdated, dust-covered "horse and buggy" reading of the national charter. "Supremes may let GOP block Obama recess noms," blared an early msnbc.com teaser headline, although that misleading, inaccurate headline was changed shortly thereafter to read "Supreme Court questions Obama's power," a slightly less erroneous headline but one which cast's the dispute in personal terms, not constitutional and institutional ones. (see below the page break for screen captures). Here's how Serwer opened his story (emphasis mine):
Hobby Lobby's complaint about infringement of religious freedom is deserving of scorn in the eyes of CNN, judging by the way the network's website treated news of the Supreme Court agreeing to take up a case in March which would decide if ObamaCare's ironclad contraception mandate is an unconstitutional intrusion on a business owner's religious liberty.
Reporting the story this afternoon, CNN.com Supreme Court producer Bill Mears put the term "religious liberty" in scare quotes in his lead paragraph:
Pro-life sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics is "bullying" and should not not accorded First Amendment's "free speech" guarantees agreed the panelists on Thursday's edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
The panel in question was addressing the Supreme Court's decision to hear oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a case which challenges a Massachusetts law which bars anyone but abortion clinic staffers from "enter[ing] or remain[ing] on a public way or sidewalk” that is within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of an abortion clinic. [Listen to the MP3 audio here; Watch the video and read the relevant transcript below the page break]
During a discussion on the June 29 Fox News Watch about the liberal media's biased coverage of the close of the Supreme Court's term, panelist Jim Pinkerton cited research by NewsBusters writer and Media Research Center news analyst Matt Hadro. as to the sheer imbalance in how the media presented the sides of the gay marriage and Votings Rights Act cases.
The relevant transcript and video follow the page break:
The Wall Street Journal may be best-known for its conservative editorial page, but its ostensibly objective reporters are a far different story. Take Jess Bravin, the Journal's Supreme Court correspondent, and his wildly different takes on the Voting Rights Act case vs. the gay marriage cases.
Although all those cases were 5-4 decisions and although each of them involved overturning or invalidating legislation enacted overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote in Congress or, in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, by the voters of the State of California, Bravin predictably followed the liberal script in how he framed the outcomes.
While most reactions from the liberal media today regarding the Supreme Court's rulings on the gay marriage cases, liberal constitutional law professor and Daily Beast contributor Adam Winkler laments that the right rulings may have been made for the "wrong reasons."
Winkler made clear that he would have preferred the Court to have taken a far more activist tack and essentially recognize a nationwide fundamental right for persons of the same sex to marry (emphasis mine)
The folks at MSNBC were ecstatic this morning following the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but that joy exploded to Chris Matthews levels of tingledom during the 11:00 a.m. hour when President Obama decided to call the couple who took the Prop 8 case to court while they were being interviewed by network anchor and outspoken same-sex marriage advocate Thomas Roberts. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]