Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Judicial Assassination

It's always a toss-up deciding whether it's worth the time to correct the New York Times - even if you limit yourself to the most egregious absurdities, it's still a full time job. Today's editorial page offers a truly clueless indictment of Justices Scalia and Thomas. The Times has championed the living Constitution and judicial activism as the basis for liberal decisions undermining the democratic process for decades. It's beyond ridiculously hypocritical that the same paper is using the very charge of judicial activism against textual interpretations of the Constitution now that liberals do not hold an unassailable majority on the bench.

The truth is that liberals are furious that they cannot faithfully rely on the Supreme Court to implement any political policy which they fail to pass in the democratic process. Abortion, contraception, privacy, unlimited federal spending and regulatory power, homosexual matters, gender issues, etc., etc., etc. On every issue which the public demurred, the Court has been there to ensure the liberal agenda was secure.

But now the dynamic has changed and some cases are ruled in accordance with the Constitution, rather than the social-psychological formulas and auguries known only to progressive judges. Liberals can't simply rage that they've lost their trump card on unfavorable turns of democracy, so they've taken the shameless approach of charging any unfavorable ruling with the very corruption they've practiced for so long.

I continue to hold out hope that the editors of the New York Times are simply unprincipled partisans - it would be a true scandal if they were really dumb enough to believe the things they write.

Categories > Journalism

Discussions - 13 Comments

Accept the scandal. Did you see the review by Glenn Reynolds in the 1/24/11 edition of National Review? He is reviewing "Gray Lady Down" and it is very good about the NYT. He says Adolph Ochs was attempting brand differentiation in the manner of the reporting for the newspaper. "Gray" journalism was as opposed to the yellow variety, straightforward."He guessed that people would be interested in hearing the facts presented more or less straight, rather than through a partisan filter." Fancy that!

On that basis, the NYT prospered. There were still some errors by reporters, about Stalin's show-trials, for example, and Abe Rosenthal said, "you have to keep your hand on the tiller and steer to the right, or it'll drift off to the left." No one has done that for a long time. When it finally hits the shoals, that will clearly be on the left bank.

I admit to loving some of every issue that comes my way. I know its bias and adjust for it, but there always delightful bits, especially these days in the online version. This ( for example, was charming, but it is hardly news. When I read article on news on the NYT, I allow my mind to pull to the right. I cannot connect to the link offered in the post, but I know what most of the NYT editorial page thinks of Justices Thomas and Scalia, so I can almost write the thing in my mind and I trust your judgment on it.

The link was broken. Thanks for pointing it out, Kate.

The New York Times? ROTFLOL.

Keep in mind that the editorial page of The New York Times has always been of inferior quality compared to its peers and even compared to those in Gannett papers. Purveyors of topical commentary worth reading over the last generation have been recruited and bred at the Washington Post or the Chicago Sun-Times or from outside the world of newspaper reporting, not at the Times, which (bar Maureen Dowd) breeds only mediocrities or worse. I will wager they believe the things they write.

I suspect with very few exceptions (Raoul Berger and, intermittently, Michael Kinsley), vociferous liberals do not and perhaps cannot understand the federal Constitution as a fixed text with a meaning apart from their wishes.

"...not at the Times, which (bar Maureen Dowd) breeds only mediocrities or worse."

"bar Maureen Dowd" ??? Please.

"...vociferous liberals do not and perhaps cannot understand the federal Constitution as a fixed text with a meaning apart from their wishes."

So, does that mean that all those Republicans in Congress (spurred on by their Tea Party caucus) who made such a big show of reading the Constitution aloud in the Capitol - but had to skip the parts that made them look bad/feel uncomfortable - they were actually "vociferous liberals" ??


It made sense to me to read the Constitution as we really live with it, rather than strictly as an historical document when making a point about how it pertains to legislation. The bits left out were irrelevant by amendment. In the interests of time and avoiding confusion , what they did, the way House Republicans handled the reading, made it instructive and not a symbolic exercise.

AD, wouldn't that traditional neutral editorial stance of the NYT make for less forceful writing on the editorial page? I don't know what the excuse might be in more recent times in the Times.

The Grand Old Party passed by those sections of the text which had given way to subsequent Amendments. And which even at the time of the drafting thereof, were subjected to ferocious debate by the founders.

Some would do well to recall how the Republican Party originated, and from what movement it grew.

We in the Republican Party have nothing to be ashamed of regarding our policies on race.

We did not create, nor support Jim Crow.

We did not oppose the Civil Rights Act, save to the extent that a Goldwater did because of his concerns, {which proved to be prescient}, about how that Act would later be warped by the judiciary.

And even to this day the Republican Party stands against quotas, despite an unrelenting pressure from the media that we should sing hosannas thereto.

Maureen Dowd is occasionally amusing to read. The syndicated column is in part a work for entertainment and someone with the imagination to compare the Clintons to Lucy and Ricky Ricardo is getting the job done. This cannot be said of any other regular columnist for the paper not self-consciously employed as an alternative voice. Miss Dowd's predecessor was Anna Quindlen, who provides neither humor nor insight in the course of any of her endeavours.

There are Constitutional provisions which have been excised or superceded by amendment. Leaving them in during a spoken recitation merely generates confusion.

And your point is stupid. The sort of jurisprudence trafficked in by the left prior to 1954 had it that the Convention and ratifiers went to the trouble of composing a menu of powers delegated to the federal legislature and then added the commerce, general welfare and implied powers clause which allowed an unrestricted field for legislative activity. After 1954, two phrases in the 14th article of amendment which on the face of them are admonishments to the judiciary to respect proper procedures and to the executive to enforce the law regularly and impartially have been invoked to invalidate any sort of state legislation the federal appellate courts take a dislike to (see Walker, Vaughan). In a healthy political culture, this sort of behavior would subject the judges in question to ridicule and removal. We do not have a healthy political culture, but this particular ailment finds its source in the legal profession, not the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.

The Washington Post aspired to the same sort of journalism and produced Richard Cohen, George Will, and Henry Mitchell for its readers of topical commentary. The New York Times served its readers Anthony Lewis, Tom Wicker, and Anna Quindlen. Some people are just better at what they do than others.

To each his own. I find Maureen Dowd insufferable. I have liked George Will, but you can have the rest of them. You may be right about the NYT opinion writers. I haven't been a regular reader since I lived in NYC in the mid 70s and I cannot remember who was writing for the Times back then. My major paper of choice has been the Wall Street Journal since some time in the 80s. Paul Gigot was already there with a column and maybe Bill McGurn was, too. I think I still miss Robert Bartley.

Did Anna Quindlen make you gag?

Me, too.

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