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Wednesday, March 07, 2007 

She Lost a Shoe

I previously linked to a post by Jan Crawford Greenburg about Justice Ginsburg's sluggish exit from the Court post-oral arguments. It looks like Ginsubrg's delay was caused by a missing shoe that she kicked off during oral arguments. Aside from shedding some light on a heavily discussed event, I think this story is one of those great "humanizing" moments. Supreme Court Justices have this air of grandeur (at least in my eyes). It's nice to know that at least one of them wants maximum comfort during argument sessions. Take a load off, Ruth. Those dogs are barking.

David Lat at Above the Law is also looking at the drama behind the story. He thinks that Linda Greenhouse, veteran Court reporter for the NYT, broke Shoe-gate in order to one-up Greenburg. Here's House...
Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News correspondent who covers the court, posted a startling item last week on her blog, Legalities. Under the heading "Faith and Frailty," she wrote that the "real drama" of an argument concerning the Bush administration's religion-based initiative came when the argument ended.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's delay in getting to her feet and leaving the bench, Ms. Greenburg wrote, seemed a sign of possible ill health and "made me think I'd better start pulling those possible retirement files together."

The alarming item quickly made its way around the blogosphere, puzzling court insiders who know that Justice Ginsburg, 73, is in fine health and keeps to a schedule that would exhaust most people who are decades younger....

The explanation is, quite literally, pedestrian. According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg had kicked off her shoes during the argument and could not find one of them.
Here's Lat's commentary, in traditional Lat-fashion...
OUCH. Jan Crawford Greenburg did some phenomenal reporting work for her fantastic new book on the Court, Supreme Conflict. But in a single breezy, casually tossed-off "Reporter's Notebook" item, Greenhouse makes Greenburg look like a rank amateur.

We conduct a close reading of Greenhouse's column, after the jump.

Okay. Let's parse the specific language used by Greenhouse in her write-up:

"a startling item" = "sensationalized and tawdry"

"[t]he alarming item" = "JCG is the National Enquirer of One First Street"

"quickly made its way around the blogosphere" = "I can't believe she got link love from Drudge for this crap. Actually, maybe I can."

"puzzling court insiders" = "Just 'cause JCG scored a few good interviews for that book of hers doesn't make her a TRUE 'court insider' -- like MOI."

"According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg..." = "I still have the best access to the justices, especially those on the liberal wing of the Court. And I'm not ceding my turf to same Jan-ny Come Lately!"

Linda's implicit message to Jan can be summed up as follows: "You can speculate all you want in that pretty little head of yours. But THIS is what we call reporting, dearie. Try it sometime -- you might like it."
I guess this can be viewed as Greenhouse trying to defend her throne from the up and coming Greenburg. This really won't change my Court-related reading habits though. I avoid Greenhouse like the plague. Her bias and cheerleading is just too much for me. Greenburg is much more readable, in my opinion.

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