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Forward network's website, he predictably spun the matter as the conservative wing of the Court leading the way for an outdated, dust-covered "horse and buggy" reading of the national charter.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.]



Writing for the liberal Atlantic magazine today, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen jumped off the proverbial deep end by comparing today's Supreme Court ruling invalidating section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to two infamous Supreme Court decisions from the 19th century.

"[T]he Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County is one of the worst in the history of the institution. As a matter of fact, and of law, it is indefensible. It will be viewed by future scholars on a par with the Court's odious Dred Scott and Plessy decisions and other utterly lamentable expressions of judicial indifference to the ugly realities of racial life in America," Cohen righteously thundered deep with his 18-paragraph screed



Guest-anchoring the June 25 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid took the opportunity to react to a 2-hour-old Supreme Court ruling with an appropriate amount of sky-is-falling bluster.

Reid's overwhelmingly liberal panel was distraught at the decision and agreed that this would lead to a “slow but steady erosion of voting rights in the South.” When asked his opinion about the ruling, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, had this to say:



MSNBC’s penchant for stoking racial animosity in service to a liberal agenda reached a new low on June 25 following the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Voting Rights Act. Following the decision that Section 4 of the Act was unconstitutional, MSNBC’s Chris Jansing claimed that the ruling was an outright “setback for civil rights.”

That's doubtless a claim that many liberal advocates will make, but is patently irresponsible and biased for an ostensibly objective journalist like Jansing to claim. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]