Reason #342 Why I Hate the NYT
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.
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.