If you ask the average person to name the principal sources of fake news, he is likely to mention the New York Times or the Washington Post. I think the Associated Press is even worse, or at least, more pervasive. A case in point is tonight’s story on President Trump’s judicial appointments: “Trump begins effort to pack courts with conservatives.”
Let’s stop right there. All presidents nominate judges with compatible philosophies. Did the Associated Press ever write that President Obama was “packing” the federal judiciary with liberals? I don’t think so. I tried this Google search–“associated press obama pack courts with liberals”–and got nothing.
The Trump administration named the first slate of judges it plans to nominate for key posts Monday as President Donald Trump works to pack the nation’s federal courts with more conservative voices.
There is that word again: “pack.” The term, of course, summons up President Roosevelt’s discredited Supreme Court packing scheme of the 1930s. But Trump isn’t “packing” anything, he is just fulfilling his constitutional duty to nominate judges.
The AP supplies some reasonably objective information, and then goes full DNC:
Trump’s earliest efforts to implement his agenda were dramatically derailed by the courts, which pushed back against his proposed travel ban and his order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with immigration authorities.
“The courts” didn’t “derail” the president’s agenda. Rather, a couple of Democratic Party stalwarts, who got the cases as a result of Democratic Party judge-shopping, issued absurd orders that are destined to be overturned in due course.
[Supreme Court Justice Neil] Gorsuch’s 66-day confirmation process was swift, but bitterly divisive. It saw Senate Republicans trigger the “nuclear option” to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold for Gorsuch and all future high court nominees. The change allowed the Senate to hold a final vote to approve Gorsuch with a simple majority.
The AP fails to note that application of the filibuster to judicial nominees is a very recent innovation. Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed on a 52-48 vote. And it was the Reid option–the Democrats’ decision to do away with the filibuster as to all lower court nominees, which didn’t include the Supreme Court because there was no Supreme Court nomination pending–that made the Republicans’ abolition of the filibuster in its last judicial redoubt a foregone conclusion. You don’t get that sort of information from the Associated Press; not if they can help it.
From there, it only gets worse:
Most Democrats refused to support Gorsuch because they were still seething over the Republican blockade last year of President Barack Obama’s pick for the same seat, Merrick Garland. Senate Republicans refused to even hold a hearing for Garland, saying a high court replacement should be up to the next president.
Of course, the Democrats did the same thing when they had the power, as to judges who had been nominated by President Bush. But the AP won’t tell you that.
The AP turns to Chuck Schumer for commentary on President Trump’s judicial nominees. When Barack Obama was president, did the AP look to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as its prime source on Obama’s Court of Appeals and District Court nominations?
“With this first slate of lower court nominees, it seems that the President is intent on continuing to outsource the judicial selection process to hard right, special interest groups rather than consulting with Senators on a bipartisan basis,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. “The President should work with members of both parties to pick judges from within the judicial mainstream, who will interpret the law rather than make it.”
It might be possible to be more disingenuous than Chuck Schumer, but it wouldn’t be easy. Did Barack Obama “work with members of both parties” to “pick judges from within the judicial mainstream”? Like, for example, when he nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan? Of course not. Let alone when he nominated absurdly left-wing Court of Appeals and District Court judges, like the ones who have been selected by Democrats to block, temporarily, President Trump’s travel orders.
And does anyone (least of all any liberal) take seriously Schumer’s claim, unrebutted by the AP, that the Democrats want judges who will “interpret the law rather than make it”? Democratic judges don’t interpret the law, they fabricate it.
To paraphrase an ad I have become familiar with through Steve Hayward, the Associated Press doesn’t always publish political parties’ press releases as news stories. But when it does, the press release always comes from the Democratic National Committee.