Saturday, October 21, 2006

I Know I'm Not Crazy When it Comes to the Media & The Pundits Reporting about Judicial Decisions

I've kvetched for quite some time now about all of those in the press, columnists, and pundits, including many of the left and right who blog, who have no clue and no business reporting about judicial decisions. They rarely read the opinions and always tend to put their own spin on an opinion. For eg: "Supreme Court Rebukes Administration"; or "Court gives Full Civil Rights to Enemy Combatants"; or "New Justices Take Away Our Civil Rights" etc. In all these examples, the premise behind the caption and the text that follows it is all more or less bunk. I would go further and say it is pure drech. And I thought I was alone in my view, well it looks like I have some allies out there...

Scalia expressed disdain for the news media and the general reading public and suggested that together they condone inaccurate portrayals of federal judges and courts.

"The press is never going to report judicial opinions accurately," he said.

"They're just going to report, who is the plaintiff? Was that a nice little old lady? And who is the defendant? Was this, you know, some scuzzy guy? And who won? Was it the good guy that won or the bad guy? And that's all you're going to get in a press report, and you can't blame them, you can't blame them. Because nobody would read it if you went into the details of the law that the court has to resolve. So you can't judge your judges on the basis of what you read in the press."

Alito complained that people understand the courts through a news media that typically oversimplifies and sensationalizes. He said people's ability to amplify their comments globally about judges and their opinions on the Internet takes a toll on the judiciary.

"This is not just like somebody handing out a leaflet in the past, where a small number of people can see this," he said. "This is available to the world. ... It changes what it means to be a judge. It certainly changes the attractiveness of a judicial career."

Scalia chimed in: "I think what Justice Alito says about being careful about, you know ... be nice to your judge. Take a judge to lunch. No, you can't do that."

Later, Scalia observed, "It so happens that everything that is stupid is not unconstitutional."


So at least I know I am not crazy...they see it too. Do you? Read the article here.

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