Abortion hysteria has overtaken the New York Times–not that hysteria is foreign to the former Gray Lady these days. This story by Carl Hulse isn’t news, it isn’t even an op-ed. It is a liberal’s temper tantrum. Hulse’s point is to blame Mitch McConnell for recent Supreme Court decisions with which he disagrees: “Mitch McConnell’s Court Delivers.” In the course of his screed, Hulse repeatedly gets the facts wrong.
Most incredibly, Hulse wrote that in Dobbs the Supreme Court banned abortion. This error raises, once more, the question whether the Times actually employs editors. Is it possible that a second pair of eyes approved that howler?
Glenn Reynolds says the Times stealth-edited that misrepresentation, but the way it still reads is bad enough:
Senate Republicans did not have to take the politically risky step of banning abortions; the court took care of the issue for them.
This makes no sense. Putting aside the constitutional question of whether regulating abortion is one of the federal government’s enumerated powers, in what world did Senate Republicans have the power to ban abortions, even if they wanted to do so? Without the House, apparently. Coherence is not a virtue of today’s New York Times.
The following also verges on the insane. I am including the full paragraph for the context of the last sentence:
Now Mr. Trump is gone from office, but the court he shaped remains as a bulwark against progressive initiatives on such subjects as climate change, gun control, the conduct of elections and campaign finance — all areas of great interest to Mr. McConnell and ones in which public opinion often diverges sharply from his own. Even if legislation that Republicans do not like somehow manages to escape Congress, they can now look confidently to the court to take care of it.
So the current Court stands poised to somehow invalidate any legislation that Democrats might be able to pass? That is an absurd claim on its face. And has the current Court been any more prone to strike down federal legislation on constitutional grounds than any prior court? Not that I am aware of.
Like so many liberals commenting on Dobbs, Hulse seems to assume that the case will be an electoral disaster for Republicans:
While much of the public recoiled at the decisions and the prospect of more to come in the years ahead…
If all of that seems like a perverse outcome in a democracy — a court that forces policies supported by the minority on the majority of the country — Mr. McConnell says that is as it should be.
Again, this is divorced from reality. As to abortion, the Court has not “forced policies” on anyone. It was Roe that forced an abortion policy on the entire country, like it or not, with no opportunity for democratic action. Dobbs doesn’t force anything on anyone; it restores the issue of abortion to the democratic process, where it belongs.
And it is by no means clear that Dobbs is as unpopular as liberals seem to assume. This morning Rasmussen published a survey that suggests the opposite:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. voters approve of the Supreme Court abortion ruling, including 38% who Strongly Approve of the decision, which means that each state can now determine its own laws regarding abortion. Forty-five percent (45%) disapprove of the Supreme Court’s new ruling, including 38% who Strongly Disapprove.
Finally, the Times distorts and misrepresents the recent history of Supreme Court nominations:
“It is a fact that Merrick Garland should be on the Supreme Court and Amy Coney Barrett should not be, and would not be without Mitch McConnell’s shameless manipulating of the process,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut.
To my knowledge, there is no theory–let alone a plausible one–on which Merrick Garland should be on the Court, but Amy Barrett should not be.
It was Justice Scalia’s death in 2016 that opened the door to Mr. McConnell’s norm-breaking decision to stonewall Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick B. Garland for nearly a year.
McConnell’s decision not to move forward on Garland’s nomination was not “norm-breaking.” There was no precedent for the situation that then obtained–a nomination in an election year when the presidency and the Senate were held by opposing parties. McConnell’s theory was that in that situation, the Senate should not proceed but should await the outcome of the election. The Times doesn’t have to agree with McConnell’s position, but an honest newspaper wouldn’t misrepresent it, which is what the Times does in accusing McConnell of inconsistency.
It was not part of the original plan, but the vacant court seat produced what Mr. McConnell described as an “unanticipated” electoral bounce for Mr. Trump, helping him win the presidency.
Which would seem to contradict the Times’s implication that a conservative court is wildly unpopular.
Through the concerted efforts of Mr. McConnell and Donald F. McGahn II, the original White House counsel for Mr. Trump, three Trump-nominated justices were then pushed onto the court, culminating with the confirmation of Justice Barrett just days before Mr. Trump lost the 2020 election.
Please: they were “pushed onto the court”? Elsewhere the Times refers bitterly to “the strong-arm tactics that Mr. McConnell employed to install three conservatives on the Supreme Court.” This is whining masquerading as news. In each case, the president nominated a justice, hearings were held, and the Senate voted to confirm the nominee. In other words, the standard constitutional process was followed.
I feel sorry for anyone who reads the New York Times and suffers from the misapprehension that he is getting either accuracy or fairness in that paper’s reporting.