Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2005

L.A. Times Deception on Rehnquist’s Legacy

Filed under: Abortion,Court Decisions,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 3:58 pm

Today the L.A. Times runs a long editorial about William Rehnquist’s legacy. You don’t have to be psychic to predict that such an editorial is going to get a few things wrong. Nor does it take a genius to predict what topics the editors will misrepresent: Bush v. Gore and abortion.

Let’s start with Bush v. Gore:

Rehnquist’s most memorable accomplishment will probably be his most ignominious, and one of the most “activist” rulings in the court’s history: essentially installing George W. Bush as president in the fatuously reasoned Bush vs. Gore.

Ah, the old weasel word “essentially.” That’s the word you use when the thing you’re saying isn’t quite true. Using this word, the editors essentially cover up the fact that the Supreme Court did not even come close to “installing” Bush. No action taken by the Supreme Court changed who was going to become President, since media recounts all showed that Bush would have won any recount that Gore was willing to agree to.

So the editors’ characterization of Bush v. Gore (note to editors: that’s “v.” not “vs.”) is essentially a lie.

But the most annoying part of the editorial is its obeisance to the talking points of the abortion lobby. (Readers of this blog already know that Times editors take their talking points on abortion straight from NARAL.) Only pro-abortion fanatics have the nerve to argue that Roe v. Wade hangs by a single vote, as Times editors claim today:

The selection of Rehnquist’s successor, whenever it happens, will be a high-stakes battle. Both sides believe that important precedents, Roe among them, now hang on one vote.

That is flatly false. Roe was within one vote of being overturned in 1992, when the Court decided Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that case, Roe was reaffirmed by a 5-4 vote. The four Justices voting to reverse Roe were Justices White, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas. White is gone, and to this day, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas remain the only three votes to overturn Roe.

That is a fact, and “both sides” know it. Any argument that Roe hangs by one vote is as cynical and disingenuous as anything ever devised by Karl Rove. For the editors of the L.A. Times to sign on to this ridiculous argument reveals either woeful ignorance or willful deception — I don’t know which for sure.

9 Responses to “L.A. Times Deception on Rehnquist’s Legacy”

  1. My money’s on willful ignorance, actually.

    Beldar (44e870)

  2. Yeah, you’re probably right. Woeful and willful.

    Patterico (756436)

  3. This post bring up an interesting, and not entirely unrelated aside, given the circumstances. How best to state it … let’s play Jeopardy!

    A: Whizzer White

    [doo dee doo doo ♫, doo dee doo ♫]

    Q: Name the last relatively conservative Supreme appointed by a Democrat.

    Yes, it’s been that long.

    ras (482403)

  4. Tangential piece of trivia: I was there for White’s last day on the Court.

    Patterico (756436)

  5. I’m afraid I’m less sanguine than both you distinguished gentlemen. I vote for willful deception.

    antimedia (ab4ba4)

  6. Hey, antimedia:

    Where in Texas are you from? I grew up in Fort Worth.

    Send me your e-mail address. patterico –AT– patterico –DOT– com . . .

    Patterico (756436)

  7. I vote for ignorant deception.

    As far as the Court, after Rehnquist the court is 6-2 for abortion. So, we add “innumerate” to the list.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  8. It had better still be 6-3 once his replacement is confirmed, or heads are gonna roll.

    Patterico (756436)

  9. PATTERICO — “You dont have to be psychic to predict that [an LA Times editorial on William Rehnquist]
    is going to get a few things wrong.”…

    PRESTOPUNDIT (84db7a)


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