Hide the women and children, the Supreme Court is back in session

The Supreme Court is back in session, and the mainstream media has coalesced around the narrative that this term will see sweeping victories for conservatives. This theme is being peddled by the Washington Post, CNN, and NPR.

I found NPR’s coverage especially nauseating:


They’re back. The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court opened a new term today with subjects on the docket as diverse and contentious as affirmative action, abortion, birth control and religious freedom. But to a remarkable degree, the Court – and in particular, its conservative chief justice, John Roberts – is at the center of a political storm ginned up by Republicans who don’t think Roberts is conservative enough. Joining me to talk about all this now is NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. . . .

Nina. . .[l]ast year, the liberal justices prevailed in a lot of big cases but most notably same-sex marriage.

NINA TOTENBERG: It was the first time in 10 years that they had that kind of success record. And they did it by picking off different conservatives in different cases.

But this term, Robert, the mix of cases plays much more to conservative strengths. There are cases that could further cut back affirmative-action in higher education, hobble or destroy public employee unions and perhaps all unions. There are cases waiting in the wings that could make it easier to limit voter participation in elections through very strict voter ID laws and cutbacks on absentee and early voting. There’s a strong likelihood that the Court will revisit the abortion question, possibly enabling states to make abortions very difficult to obtain. And the Court is expected to revisit the question of birth control under Obamacare.

(Emphasis added)

Citing these same cases, the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman says that only “a couple” of them “may be in doubt,” so “it’s almost certainly going to be a great term for Republicans.”

It’s almost as if the liberal MSM is adopting a doomsday mantra in the hope of warding off the evil spirits of conservatism.

Ed Whelan injects a dose of realism. He writes:

Alas, of the five cases I understand Waldman to be (rather confusedly and tendentiously) invoking, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if conservatives win no more than one. I hold out some hope that there might be victories in more of the cases, but if so, they’re unlikely to be “sweeping” and “consequential.”

Ed explains that the Supreme Court remains Justice Kennedy’s court. And although Kennedy “has sided with the conservatives in some important cases, his defections to the Left have been numerous and momentous” and did not suddenly commence last term.

Moreover, when Kennedy does side with the conservatives, he often makes sure that the ruling isn’t sweeping, and therefore not all that consequential.

So no, the sky isn’t likely to fall on women, minority group members, unions, etc. this Supreme Court term, and the misleading incantations of Totenberg, Waldman, and (to a lesser degree) CNN’s Ariane de Vogue are probably unnecessary.