By Dave Andrusko
I’m sure it’s happened before, but this is the first time I can remember seeing Linda Greenhouse, the reporter for the New York Times who covered the Supreme Court from 1978-2008, describe herself as “an abortion-rights advocate.” In her new role as a “Contributing Opinion Writer,” I guess Greenhouse believes there is no need to feign even the pretense of objectivity when it comes to her unabashed support of abortion.
So what is Greenhouse writing about in today’s edition? The case of June Medical Services v. Gee, the 2014 Louisiana law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The more –in-sorrow-than-anger headline reads, “A Supreme Court Abortion Case That Tests the Court Itself.” In case you somehow would miss it reading her latest Jeremiah, the gist is that Act 620 is so beyond the constitutional pale that no justice could possibly vote to uphold it.
Here’s some of Greenhouse’s choicest putdowns:
- “Flagrantly unconstitutional.”
- “Went rogue,” a slur directed at the “conservative” 5th US. Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. (Be interesting to know how Greenhouse characterized the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I’m guessing there would be no comparable adjective.)
- The 5th Circuit could do so only “by mischaracterizing what the justices did in Whole Woman’s Health [v. Hellerstedt] and by drawing phony distinctions” between Texas [whose law was the subject of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt] and Louisiana.
- Any justice “inclined” to side with the 5th Circuit “faces a glaring rule-of-law problem.”
- On a particular point (but it could apply to everything that Greenhouse finds wrong in her 1,683-word-long screed), “Of course, there’s so much wrong with that argument that the question is where to begin.”
And we’ve only gotten 2/3rds of the way into Greenhouse’s prophetess-of-doom lamentation.
So, what to say about the latest the sky-is-falling op-ed from a woman whose influence on justices was so profound it was dubbed the Greenhouse Effect? (This is a reference to the very plausible theory that explained why some conservative Supreme Court justices would tend to vote more liberally as the years went by–the need for her approval.)
*She is attempting, as she did all through her four-decade-long stint covering the High Court, to intimidate/ridicule/taunt the two newest justices into agreeing with her pro-abortion conclusions. But what would you expect from someone whose contempt for minimal journalistic ethics was so complete she would make monthly donations to Planned Parenthood for years even as she was covering the Supreme Court, and participate in a 1989 pro-abortion march in Washington, DC?
*It is one thing for the author of a slavishly favorable book about Justice Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, to vigorously disagree with U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, the author of the opinion that reversed the finding by U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles that Act 620 was unconstitutional.
But it is quite another to ridicule and scorn Judge Smith, who had, in fact, made a very plausible argument why the law was not inconsistent with Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. (You can read our take on his reasoning here.)
*Greenhouse is nervous because, like all pro-abortion partisans, she believes that Roe is on the ropes. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was “argued shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and before his successor, Neil Gorsuch, joined the court” and before Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy. The vote was 5-3.
Since she would never for even a nanosecond consider that Roe truly was an “An exercise of raw judicial power,” to quote from Justice White’s dissent, and that we know a great deal more about the unborn today than we did in 1973, the only option to explain why the justices would continue to review and revise Roe is politics.
*Let me conclude with what I wrote about a Washington Post review of Greenhouse’s self-flattering book, Just a Journalist: On the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between.
If we believe Carlos Lozada’s mixed-feelings review, Greenhouse glories in violating conventional journalist practices (she believes observing a code of neutrality is just an excuse for “deferring to power”).
“Much of the book is devoted to relitigating episodes when the author violated ethical norms that she found superfluous,” Lozada writes. Greenhouse offers a raft of rationales why none of the usual rules of the game apply to her but they all come down to the same thing.
She–and by extension other reporters–have quasi-mystical powers of insight which allows them to glean the truth and therefore feel righteous about giving short-shrift to those whose opinions differ from the New York Times and The Washington Post.
That this is just preposterous; that this is a position she would loathe if suddenly her beloved Times was bought out by someone whose position was 180 degrees from the current orthodoxy, is not worthy of even a passing word.
I can’t wait to read Greenhouse’s op-ed that follows oral arguments. How about you?
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