Liberals launch media attack on Justice Thomas in an attempt to alter ObamaCare ruling
By Edward Hassell
The once-venerable New York Times has lived off its reputation for worldclass professionalism despite its recent yield of a veritable mountain of liberal slant.
Why was it that a Feb. 12 hit-piece, “No Argument: Thomas Keeps Silence,” which aimed squarely at denigrating Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, saw fit to quote a third-year law student?
“’If Justice Thomas holds a strong view of the law in a case, he should offer it,” David A. Karp, a veteran journalist and third-year law student, wrote in the Florida Law Review in 2009.”
A third-year law student? The Florida Law Review? Was no other worldclass authority available to talk to the Times on this subject? Or was it the fact that this was a “veteran journalist” and the author of the piece, Adam Liptak, is always going to trust one of his own? No matter. The rest of the piece is equally disturbing in its characterization of Justice Thomas as “less than” the standard for a Supreme Court Justice. Instead of pursuing a more newsworthy story idea, Liptak invented a “five-year anniversary” of Justice Thomas’ last utterance in the highest court in the land—as if it compared to historic events or tragedies.
In his meandering attempts to explain this phenomenon, Liptak quotes Thomas’ memoir in which he admitted he was ashamed of his Georgia accent, as well as his belief in the importance of listening in court, which he told a Bar Association in Richmond, Virginia. But Liptak doesn’t leave it at that—he is after all, a New York Times reporter. Recalling Thomas’ past questions of a defense lawyer in a case on race, he attempts to not-so-subtly undermine the Justice.
The point of the article becomes increasingly clear: Position Justice Thomas as a biased judge, subject to persuasion by external forces. Whether the author is using a journalist friend and third-year law student, or a liberal professor from Minnesota as his source, the message to the reader is “Be afraid. Be very afraid of this Justice.”
No surprise that just two days later, the Times ran another story on Thomas: this one about the ongoing efforts of liberal watchdog group, Common Cause, and its steady efforts to force Thomas to recuse himself from the inevitable ObamaCare case. Accusing Thomas of ‘conflict of interest,’ the group cites a 2008 “brief drop-by” the Justice made to a Palm Springs event, where his travel expenses were paid by its organizers, as well as the connections of Thomas’ wife to the conservative Heritage Foundation. [Note: No one has actually accused Thomas' wife of any wrongdoing and Thomas was not under any requirement to disclose her earnings]
Worried by conservative plans to attack Justice Elena Kagan for her very real association with President Obama—the liberal media has joined with Democratic politicians and a phalanx of liberal activist groups to ‘even the score’ and take out a conservative judge likely to vote against the law on solid legal principles. One should note that even while Democrats and liberals scream out against Justice Thomas, they have been relatively mum on Kagan. One can’t pick and choose when making this kind of argument.
Do we think Supreme Court judges are incapable of making a legal decision due to the influence of their spouses? Or should judges and their families simply lead a cloistered life in which they are not allowed any contact with the general public or possible educational opportunities and seminars that may be beneficial to their understanding of a subject?
Not only has Common Cause gotten its facts wrong in the past, as noted by lawyer David Rivkin in his Jan. 25 Wall Street Journal article “Common Cause v. Scalia and Thomas,” but the whole idea of attacking judges before major cases is an unfair attack on the judiciary as a whole. Such attacks and the latest incarnation of ‘yellow journalism’ should not be tolerated.