I was annoyed last night at the fact that the AP had downplayed Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s catnap during the oral argument in the Texas redistricting case. But at least the AP reported it. David Savage’s L.A. Times story about the oral argument doesn’t mention Ginsburg’s dozing at all.
To be fair to Savage, his failure to report this fact is far from unique. As Captain Ed notes, the New York Times and Washington Post also fail to note the tidbit in their news stories on the argument (though the Post‘s Dana Milbank does mention it in his column, and says that, by a Bloomberg news estimation, Ginsburg was asleep for about 15 minutes).
Nor does lefty Slate correspondent Dahlia Lithwick find the nap worth mentioning, though she has a blow-by-blow description of the oral argument. Lithwick describes Justice Stevens as “on fire” — but says not a word about Ginsburg, who was apparently on “snooze.”
There is not a rational reader among you who truly believes that the liberal media would largely ignore a nap by Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas during any oral argument — never mind one on such a partisan issue as this. It would be page one of all of the above national newspapers. Dahlia Lithwick would be yukking it up alongside Jon Stewart, Leno, Letterman, and the rest of the liberals out there.
I will say this, though — if Savage is right, then maybe Ginsburg wasn’t sleeping because she already decided to vote against DeLay. Savage seems to think that Ginsburg and other liberal Justices are going to vote with DeLay. If he’s right, then maybe Ginsburg just isn’t doing well.
Based on Savage’s reporting, I retract my suggestion that Ginsburg was sleeping because she had already made up her mind to vote against DeLay’s redistricting.
I still think her nap is news — and should have been reported by more news outlets than just the AP, which put it in paragraph 16 of a 26-paragraph story. [UPDATE: And, of course, by the Post, as already mentioned above.]