Patterico's Pontifications


The L.A. Times‘s Attack on the Judiciary, or, the Armed Takeover at the Times Building

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:23 am

Things are really out of control in America. Now the GOP is resorting to gunplay at the offices of one of our nation’s top newspapers. The evidence of this is clear. Just open up today’s Los Angeles Times.

Yesterday, the L.A. Times editorial page described the GOP’s threat to scrap filibusters of judicial nominees as an “attack on the judiciary”:

DeLay says he wants to hold Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, accountable for citing international laws in a recent majority opinion. And DeLay and his counterpart in the Senate, Bill Frist, are working to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominations. Meanwhile, evangelical Christian leaders are looking for ways to strip funding from the courts of judges they don’t like.

These attacks on the judiciary threaten the constitutional separation of powers that has long allowed this nation’s government to function more effectively than those of some of its neighbors.

The editorial compared the nuclear option (and other “attacks on the judiciary”) to bribery of judges in South America, and declared Republicans’ treatment of judges characteristic of a “banana republic.”

After this editorial ran, the gunplay began. Late last night, commandos working for Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Tom DeLay executed a covert armed takeover of the editorial offices at The Times. While heavily armed mercenaries held Michael Kinsley and the rest of the editorial staff at bay with military rifles, an unnamed Senate Judiciary Committee staffer hurriedly typed out this morning’s editorial and sent it to the presses.

The editorial, titled Nuke the Filibuster, encourages the GOP to do away with the filibuster entirely. The Senate staffer did an excellent job of making it sound like it was really written by Times editors. It was a nice touch to begin with a slap at religious conservatives:

These are confusing days in Washington. Born-again conservative Christians who strongly want to see President Bush’s judicial nominees voted on are leading the charge against the Senate filibuster, and liberal Democrats are born-again believers in that reactionary, obstructionist legislative tactic. Practically every big-name liberal senator you can think of derided the filibuster a decade ago but now sees the error of his or her ways and will go to amusing lengths to try to convince you that the change of heart is explained by something deeper than the mere difference between being in the majority and being in the minority.

The staffer further mimicked the editors’ penchant for self-congratulation, including a phrase in which the editors praise themselves for their own intellectual consistency:

At the risk of seeming dull or unfashionable for not getting our own intellectual makeover, we still think judicial candidates nominated by a president deserve an up-or-down vote in the Senate. We hardly see eye to eye with the far right on social issues, and we oppose some of these judicial nominees, but we urge Republican leaders to press ahead with their threat to nuke the filibuster. The so-called nuclear option entails a finding by a straight majority that filibusters are inappropriate in judicial confirmation battles.

The editorial goes on to encourage the GOP to eliminate filibusters across the board, and not just for judicial nominees.

I have to say that the Senate staffer who wrote this editorial did an excellent job under trying circumstances. It can’t be easy to write such a piece while surrounded by mercenaries with automatic weapons. But he pulled it off in grand style.

My description of the armed takeover of the Times editorial offices is supposition, of course. But it makes more sense than any other explanation I can think of.

15 Responses to “The L.A. Times‘s Attack on the Judiciary, or, the Armed Takeover at the Times Building”

  1. LA Times Rubbernecking
    Patterico, merciless soldier in the battle against LA Times bias and yellow journalism, has terrific commentary on today’s editorial from my favorite fish wrap, the LA Times.

    Speculating that only an armed take-over of the newspaper’s office build… (c5d5ae)

  2. Wonderful job on the explanation. May I offer a slightly less creative (and much less funny) take?
    Right now, Dems can be seen as obstructionists because nominees don’t get an up or down vote. If the nominee gets to the floor, all the liberal senators (not just committee members) can take up the character assassination of the nominee on the floor of the Senate… The LAT will breathlessly and favorably report on those attacks, thereby harming both the nominee and the President. “Debate” on the nominee will be nothing more than a grand “talking points” party, which will allow the Dems to say in ’06 “See, we can’t have Republican majorities. Look at the far right judges they’ve approved. We warned you in 2005 this would happen.”
    Besides, by 2006/08 the LAT editors will have forgotten this editorial and will be suggesting the end of the judicial filibuster was nothing more than a power play by Republicans who must be tossed out of office. Think an editorial board won’t do a 180? See The Minn. Star Tribune on filibusters. In the Clinton years filibusters were wrong. Today, they’re a cherished tradition. (For the actual polar opposite editorials, go to PowerLine).

    kyle (dca2a1)

  3. Actually, I think someone embarrassed the Times by showing them their own editorials and they rightly concluded that they had to be consistant.

    Note that today’s editorial did not touch upon WHY judicial filibusters were singled out, nor how utterly unusual they are.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  4. April 25, 2005 Was So Long Ago
    This isn’t about principle. It’s currency….

    damnum absque injuria (38c04c)

  5. So Patterico, you ‘can’t take yes for an answer’? Time to admit that you agree with the LAT for once. Come on, you can do it.

    Ruth (0d40e8)

  6. Which L.A. Times is he supposed to agree with? Today’s or yesterday’s?

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  7. The LAT on the Filibuster, Again
    Yesterday (“DeLay’s Banana Republic”) they denounced Tom DeLay, in part for urging removal of the Democratic judicial filibuster. Today the LAT declares “Nuke the Filibuster”—urging the elimination of all filibusters. “The filibuster is a reactionar…

    Local Liberty (a8d754)

  8. Does anyone know when the Senate was last in an official filibuster mode, with Senators talking to avoid a judge’s confirmation vote? All this talk about filibuster threats seems to avoid the fact that the Senate filibuster is mostly myth.

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  9. Time to admit that you agree with the LAT for once. Come on, you can do it.

    I agree that the GOP should dump the judicial filibuster. I thought that was clear. I was just mocking them (gently) for saying something so inconsistent with what they said just yesterday.

    Patterico (08c813)

  10. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, So what if the LAT was right, … for once.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  11. This isn’t true unless the clock is not moving at all. If the clock loses 2 minutes per hour, it will go days without ever displaying anything close to the correct information. Most of the time the clock will be giving a hopelessly wrong answer. The LA Times is like a slow clock, not a broken one.

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  12. I love that analogy.

    Patterico (756436)

  13. Patterico:
    (and Xrlq)

    I hope I was also mocking gently. And did enjoy your thesis of armed takeover.

    You’ll appreciate WaPo today, same subject in editorial “Nuclear Deterrence” (not gently):

    “The principles these more extreme combatants are upholding are not, upon close examination, impressive. Liberals are really arguing for the right to frustrate majority rule. Mr. Frist is really arguing that Democrats should not be able to do to Republican nominees what Republican senators only recently did to Democratic nominees, using a different set of procedural tricks. The partisanship on both sides has the unhealthy effect of further politicizing American attitudes toward the judiciary.

    As we have said repeatedly, it’s not hard to imagine a way out of this mess — a compromise in which adults on both sides of the aisle would put the good of the institution above the fundraising and ideological demands of their interest groups. A few Democrats would have to acknowledge that, at least in all but extreme circumstances, judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote. A few Republicans would have to admit that history did not begin in January 2001. It would be nice if President Bush and party leaders would participate in working out a compromise, since he, and they, have been complicit in needlessly pushing the Senate to the brink. But without their help, a handful of independent-minded figures on both sides could join forces to make a deal happen.”

    Ruth (8f3d0b)

  14. For whatever reason, I can’t help but think it all begins with Clarence Thomas.

    Well that and Roe v. Wade.

    Dean Esmay (20197a)

  15. […] has recently taken an editorial position supporting the nuclear option. But there is some obvious dissension there. My speculaton is that this stance was fo […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » L.A. Times Buries How Senate Obstructed Anti-Lynching Laws (0c6a63)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2000 secs.