« Home | A Loss for Words » | Just Off the News Wire This Morning... » | Supreme Court TV » | You Heard It Here First » | Beer Review: Delirium Tremens » | Justice Wilcox to Retire » | Expanded Death Penalty » | HAHA!!! » | Charming » | Scalia Strikes Back » 

Monday, April 03, 2006 

Reason #342 Why I Hate the NYT

Oh, Adam Cohen. You are such a card. Cohen often writes about the Supreme Court and legal topics. Today, he's gone above and beyond his usual eye-rollingly bad work with this editorial piece.

First, I'll give him a few compliments. Cohen does a pretty good job summing up the voting differences between Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Since it is generally thought that Kennedy now holds the center of the Court and its important fifth vote, this analysis is an important and enlightening one for readers who don't watch the Court much.

Now for the criticism. Read this...
At last week's oral argument in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, probably the term's most important case, the outcome was all but decided when Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke. He strongly suggested by his questions that he would join the four moderate justices in rejecting the Bush administration's position on a key aspect of its war-on-terror powers.
The four moderate Justices?! Are you kidding me?! Only in the screwy world of the New York Times can Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer be called moderates. They are liberals, Cohen. It's okay. You can admit it. The rest of the legal world does.

I think Cohen is trying to usurp NYT Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse. The "Greenhouse Effect" has been a legal community buzzword for some time now. Basically, it means that Greenhouse praises the moderate and conservative Justices whenever they break ranks and side with the liberal wing. This strokes the ego of the side-switching Justice and encourages it to happen more. After all, the conservative Justices rarely get praised for their votes. Cohen seems to be using this piece to urge Kennedy to the left.
Go Left, young man!

Here are some of Cohen's gems...
But it is likely that rather than pleasing any ideology or interest group, the court will be guided by one man's sometimes idiosyncratic, but evidently quite sincere, attempt to reach the right result.
...there are signs that his views are evolving.
He is also someone who cares what other people think.
...there is something refreshing about a justice who genuinely seems to have an open mind.
I'd imagine that we can expect increased Kennedy ass kissing from Adam Cohen and the NYT. I'm fine with that; I expect that. I'm not fine with the moronic claim that any Justice on the Supreme Court that isn't a conservative is a moderate. Either Cohen is so far to the Left that they actually do look like moderates, or he's never read an opinion written by any of them.

EDIT: In the comments section, Nick reminded me that this was an opinion piece and I should mention that. Out of fairness, I edited the post to include that. This is not a straight news story.

However, I don't think that helps the NYT in this situation. Adam Cohen is not just some shlub off the street who got an opinion piece printed in the paper. He is on the editorial board of the NYT. That should tell you where the board is coming from ideologically.

You left out the important fact that the article was an editorial...

Of course you can still disagree with him, but it's a bit underhanded to not mention how the article was never intended as an up-and-up news article.

Just keepin ya honest...


Fair enough. The post has been edited to include that expressly.

The piece still makes the NYT look bad though. I would hope that even the rest of the NYT editorial board would catch that sentence and ask Cohen "Are you kidding me?!" It reflects poorly on them that he is their legal guy on the editorial board when he's so disconnected from reality. I guess I shouldn't be shocked though. This is the editorial board that called for the Alito filibuster.

If there was an editorial written calling Scalia and Thomas "moderates", I would feel a need to call them out on that too. I think that these labels are way too closer to facts than opinions. They're empirically backed up. Denying them is like denying that the sky is blue.

And do they have up and up news articles in the Times anymore? (okay, that was a cheap shot...)

As far as calling the NYT editorial board "out of touch," that is nothing new. Despite the fact that I probably read the NYT everyday, even I don't bother with the editorials as they are so ridiculous.

Yeah, I know. Beating up on the NYT editorial board is really going after low hanging fruit.

Speaking of fruit (a topic of mutual interest), I had an overly ripe plum explode in my bag today. It stained half of my notes and my Legislation casebook with plummy goodness. Damn Chilean fruit.

Post a Comment
Edit Comment

About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
  • E-mail Me
My profile