Supremely Myopic: The Media & SCOTUS

I’m uncertain if I like or loathe the acronym SCOTUS. It’s a useful shortcut but it looks like scrotum. There’s bound to be a Long Dong Silver joke in there somewhere, but I’ve decided to pass since Clarence Thomas might get a kick out of it.

Speaking of scrotal SCOTUS coverage, First Draft co-founder Allison Hantschel kicks the MSM in its proverbial balls in her latest piece at Dame Magazine: Oh, So Now Media Men Want to Talk About Roe.

Here’s how Athenae concludes her bollocking of the boys in the press corps:

“Instead of approvingly retweeting every savvier-than-thou take on what this means for the holiness of the mostly male Supreme Court or the mostly male U.S. Senate or the entirely male U.S. presidency, media bros should be amplifying the voices of the people whose lives are under attack today.

That the corporate press considers their views less legitimate, less urgent, less fundamental to the future of this country, is a large part of how we wound up here in the first place and we’re not going to get out of this without listening to them.”

We’ve all missed her voice. Make sure you read the whole piece. Cassandra makes many of the same points in her latest post, We’re Not Going Back.

In other myopic media news, there’s a Politico piece lamenting leaks at SCOTUS. The piece itself is loaded with leaks. We learn that Sam the Sham Alito’s opinion is the only one circulating and that none of the Federalist Society Pharaohs has bailed on him.

Then there’s this unintentionally funny quote:

“This is the most serious assault on the court, perhaps from within, that the Supreme Court’s ever experienced,” said one person close to the court’s conservatives, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitive nature of the court deliberations. “It’s an understatement to say they are heavily, heavily burdened by this.”

That’s right, ladies and germs, it’s an anonymous quote lamenting leaks.

Politico is not the first thing I read in the morning: Talking Points Memo is. Yesterday, Josh Marshall pointed out something odd about the Politico byline in a post with an intentionally funny title, Leaky Court Continues To Leak:

“The conspicuous byline on the original report was that of Alex Ward. Ward isn’t a Supreme Court or legal affairs or reproductive rights reporter. He’s a national security reporter. In other words, his beat has no clear nexus to anything related to this case or story. Observers speculated/assumed that that meant that the initial leak came through him. That’s inherently speculative. But I would say it’s the only plausible explanation. It’s almost certainly true. His byline is on the new piece too. So as I said, the leaks, which preceded the Politico bombshell, appear to be continuing and evolving into a de facto communications policy from the right.”

My hunch is that it’s someone Ward worked with in the past, went to school with or knows socially. Mark Felt became Deep Throat because of a chance meeting with Bob Woodward, after all.

We conclude the leak portion of the post with a leaky musical interlude:

Another example of the MSM’s supreme myopia is the lack of historical context in its reporting. My reading about SCOTUS history has given me a less majestic view of how the court works and how the justices interact. It’s a human institution and human beings don’t always get along. The title of a book by Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman says it all, Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices.

Feldman does a fine job of detailing what amounted to an intellectual tag team wrestling match: “In this corner, Bob Jackson and Felix Frankfurter. In the far corner, Bill Douglas and Hugo Black.”

The two pairs of justices loathed one another.

Repeat after me: Supreme Court Justices are human beings.

My fascination with SCOTUS history began with reading Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong’s The Brethren. Then Chief Justice Warren Burger ordered the leaks investigated but Justice Potter Stewart’s role as the book’s primary anonymous source wasn’t revealed for decades,

I recently re-read the segments of my tattered paperback dealing with how Roe vs. Wade was argued and decided. It was a compromise opinion that focused on the rights of doctors because it was the only way Harry Blackmun could seal a majority with Potter Stewart’s vote. There were only four votes for an all-out right to privacy decision. This compromise was the source of the opinion’s vulnerability.

Another thing the MSM has missed is Sam the Sham’s role in the Casey case. He was the appellate court judge who wrote the opinion that was reversed in part and affirmed in part. The SCOTUS ruling was another compromise opinion that was driven by Justices O’Connor and Souter.

I jogged my memory by perusing the Casey segment of Jeffrey Toobin’s The Nine. No snickering please. He did something gross and stupid but that doesn’t mean his entire body of work is useless. He got Sandra Day O’Connor to speak to him, which was not easy.

Speaking of Casey, Senator Bob Casey’s father Robert Casey Sr. was the governor of Pennsylvania who signed the law challenged in that case. Senator Casey voted for the doomed but symbolically significant senate bill to secure national abortion rights. He still considers himself pro-life but does not favor abolition of abortion rights.

The worst thing about the current “pro-life” movement is its absolutism. Even the Republican platform used to have exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. There was no GOP platform in 2020 and such exceptions are considered passe by those seeking to control the lives of American women. Women should be central to this debate, but they’ve been marginalized by the media. Athenae and Cassandra got it right.

Finally, the MSM’s obsession with all things Trumpy has led many to believe that the Trump appointees are driving the SCOTUS train. They’re wrong: it’s Mr. Ginni Thomas and Sam the Sham Alito. Alito is out to vindicate his lower court opinion in Casey and to erase his image as Scalia’s sidekick. He’s Scalito no more.

While I believe history does repeat, Split Enz still gets the last word:

4 thoughts on “Supremely Myopic: The Media & SCOTUS

  1. I missed Allison’s voice too, but I found this section to be annoying: “Male lawmakers already treat women, cis and trans, as an exotic constituency they know not of, whose bodies should be subject to regulation like dangerous animals or narcotic drugs. They routinely opine that our internal organs can voluntarily prevent pregnancy. They talk about “legitimate” sex crimes and fantasize about the kinds of sexual assault they think should justify a rape exemption in abortion law.”

    Transwomen are men. They cannot get pregnant. While “male” lawmakers (funny how she doesn’t mention that they might be “cis” & “trans”) might treat women, both “cis” & “trans” as “exotic”, the fact is transwomen are MEN & cannot get pregnant. So it’s NOT about THEM at all. It’s only about REAL women … the so-called “cis” women, who are NOT a subset of men, not transwomen (a subset of men) … ONLY WOMEN. Only WOMEN get pregnant.

    When SCOTUS starts regulating the prostates of transwomen, then I’ll start paying attention to their concerns but hey, they’re NOT women, let’s get real here.

    Other than that, it was great hearing from Allison again & I subscribed to Dame.

    1. Transgender men and transmasculine people can and do in fact get pregnant. Transgender women ARE real women. The thinking above is incorrect. I encourage you expand your understanding of transgender people, gender identify and gender expression in order to avoid promulgating this type of harmful and dangerous disinformation.

  2. I loved your article. Millions of women started by wondering what kind of really bad sci-fi, pro-fascist nightmares they were having;and horrified that it is real. Since when can SCOTUS circumvent prior Supreme court rulings, and the Constitution, to let states override federally protected personal freedom? These laws were established after the Civil War. The judges theories are grossly warped and they obviously hate women and want them treated like livestock. One Republican politician said banning abortion was like the “Endangered Species laws”. A male in the audience said that was odd because many of those species ate their young. It was pointed out to the idiot that woman are not birds or wild animals.
    Judge Alito, who wrote the anti- Roe draft, quoted a man, John Hale, who was born in 1608, and lived in England. This was his (American legal precedence)”…the man, Hale,who delighted in his righteousness in having women burnt alive. He suspected they were witches. This is Alito’s hero. He quoted him several times. We have a deranged group of scrotums in the Supreme Court and they are shameless in voicing their dangerously slanted views. We must expand the Supreme Court or continue to fight what will be a continuous onslaught of bizarre SJC tricks to bypass existing laws. Their failure to protect the right for everyone to have equal access to vote was the beginning. The Republican politicians trying to push through hundreds of anti-Constitutional laws to hinder voting access has been encouraged. The raving fake religious right is cheering for no rights for women and a death sentence for murder (they love executions) if you dare to get, or aid in an abortion. They Republican politicians vow birth control, IVF, and mixed-race marriages are next.

  3. As a non-lawyer, this article from ‘Balkinization’ was intriguing to say the least.
    How the dissenters could rationally look at and respond to the Roe draft if it continues onward.
    All the so-called ‘conservatives’ on SCOTUS have complained about ‘not being political hacks’, however the arguments that I have seen in the draft are more theological and political than constitutional.
    What truly drives me to the bad writing is the constant reference to the ‘unborn human being’ instead of using the terms ‘zygote’ or ‘fetus’. My logic Instructor would have down-graded that type of terminology in a flash.

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