“The Board,” the new blog by the members of the New York Times editorial board, is filled with the kind of kneejerk leftist nonsense you’ve learned to expect from this gang.
The editors are never so off-target as when they write about the Supreme Court, and today is no exception. Today’s entry, titled Our Logic-Challenged Supreme Court Takes on Age Discrimination, begins with a swipe at the Roberts Court:
The Roberts Court seems to be driven these days by ideology — even, increasingly, to the exclusion of common sense.
Take the case about age discrimination, on which the court heard oral arguments yesterday.
Ellen Mendelsohn, who alleges that she was fired by Sprint/United Management Company because of her age, wanted to introduce “me too” evidence — other workers who say they were also discriminated against on the basis of age.
Of course “me too” evidence should be admissible. We know in our own lives just how important it is in resolving disputes. If you were investigating whether a kid in a classroom punched his classmate, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing that five other kids say he punched them, too?
Sure I would. Except, that’s not what’s going on here. Nobody disputes that the plaintiff can introduce evidence of discrimination by her own supervisor against other employees. The “me too” evidence at issue is evidence of discrimination by other supervisors against other employees. In an article that appeared today in the editors’ own paper, Linda Greenhouse explained:
The case concerned whether an employee can seek to prove discrimination by offering what is sometimes known as “me too” or “other supervisor” evidence, testimony from other employees who also claim to have suffered discrimination under similar circumstances, but at the direction of different supervisors.
This description is not hard to find. It’s the second paragraph of Greenhouse’s article — an article which the editors themselves link, by the way. Greenhouse’s explanation utterly demolishes the editors’ silly analogy to bullying schoolchildren. Commenter aks at the editors’ blog makes the point that the logic-challenged editors don’t quite seem to get:
[I]f the kid hit five other classmates, [evidence of that] would come in. What wouldn’t come in is evidence that some other bully in the same school hit some kid in a different class–the distinction is an important one.
Not only is the distinction important, it’s also easy to understand. But the editors instead completely mischaracterize the evidence at issue, implying that the argument was over the admissibility of evidence of other discrimination by the plaintiff’s own supervisor.
How did the editors get this so badly wrong? As I see it, there are three possibilities:
- 1. The editors didn’t read Greenhouse’s article, at least as far as the second paragraph.
- 2. The editors read that paragraph, but didn’t understand it.
- 3. The editors are being willfully dishonest.
Which is it? I would support waterboarding the editors responsible for this blog entry, if doing so would force them to reveal which possibility is correct.
I suspect it’s Possibility #3: the editors are being willfully dishonest. My conclusion is supported by another part of the editors’ blog entry:
But as Linda Greenhouse reported in the Times today, several of the Justices, perhaps a majority, seemed inclined not to allow such evidence, or to admit it only under limited circumstances. They appeared to be worried that each of the other employees’ claims would require a “mini-trial” to determine what went on in their own terminations.
One Justice complained that it might produce “trials that last a thousand years.” Unlikely, really.
Keep in mind that the blog entry begins with a complaint about the lack of common sense displayed by “[t]he Roberts Court,” and ends with a complaint about “[t]he Robert Court.” (Hey, they’re editorial board editors, not copy editors!) So who is this unnamed Justice representing the Roberts Court — the one who complained about thousand-year trials? The evil Antonin Scalia? The malevolent Clarence Thomas? For the answer, let’s turn to Greenhouse’s article again:
Even some of the more liberal justices appeared dismayed by the prospect of conducting trials within trials to untangle conflicting evidence about how other supervisors might have treated other employees.
Justice David H. Souter said such evidence could be “substantially misleading or prejudicial.” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, “We might do quite a lot of harm by trying to let the Court of Appeals second guess trial courts on this kind of thing.”
He added: “We’ll have trials that last a thousand years.”
Justice Stephen Breyer — the very face of the “Robert Court”!!
I guess actually naming him in the blog entry would have taken some of the oomph out of the editors’ diatribe against the Robert(s) Court. So, they simply leave him unnamed, leaving readers to conclude that the Justice in question is one of those evil conservatives.
As I said: Possibility #3: willful dishonesty.