- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2000

The closer George W. Bush comes to winning the presidency, the more apocalyptic and disingenuous the liberal media become.

Consider, for example, the headline writers at The Washington Post. On Friday a bitterly divided Florida Supreme Court one need only read the two strongly worded dissents written by the three justices in the minority, including the court's chief justice, to see how bitter it was issued its 4-to-3 decision ordering Florida's "vote counting" to resume. The Post's Saturday front-page headline declared: "Fla. Supreme Court Orders Partial Recounts Across State." On Saturday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-to-4 ruling halting, at least temporarily, that recount. The Post's Sunday headline declared: "Divided U.S. Supreme Court Orders Freeze on Fla. Count."

On Monday, The Post printed a letter from a reader who quite reasonably asked, "Is there any other reason, other than editorial bias for Vice President Gore, that explains the different way the two recent events were headlined? Were not the two courts equally 'divided'?" Evidently not, in the judgment of The Post, which headlined its Tuesday paper, "Divided High Court Grills Attorneys for Bush, Gore on Recount Options."

In Sunday's Post, Robert Kaiser, the paper's former managing editor, authored a piece attacking the presumed partisanship of the five most conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Headlined "Slim Majority Raises Fear of Court Partisanship," Mr. Kaiser's article began: "Before yesterday, the Supreme Court had received extensive advice, then praise, for taking a careful, moderate and unanimous approach to the sensitive legal questions it considered in connection with this year's hung election for president. Then yesterday, five justices abandoned that approach, staking out a position that opened the court to accusations of intemperate partisanship as the majority stayed the vote count in Florida and signaled its willingness to decide the 2000 election in favor of George W. Bush."

Nowhere, did he mention that the four liberal members of the court just might be motivated by partisanship. In addition, nearly all the substantive quotes on partisanship were gleaned from like-minded liberal law professors. "This looks like a group of five, hard-line, right-wing Republicans who are willing to do anything to put their guy in office," liberal constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson complained. "Hard-line" and "right-wing" aren't words one normally finds associated with Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, both of whom happened to vote in 1992 to uphold the Roe vs. Wade decision.

On Monday, The Post offered a front-page profile of Justice Antonin Scalia by Bob Woodward and Charles Lane. The article began by speculating about "the court's controversial assertion of jurisdiction" in connection with the Florida vote controversy. Since when is the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to intervene in cases involving the U.S. Constitution and federal law assumed to be a "controversial assertion of jurisdiction"?

He didn't stop there, though. Mr. Woodward ended his article by advancing the demand from Lanny Davis, a man best known for his unwavering defense of President Clinton during the latter's impeachment, that Justice Antonin Scalia recuse himself from the Florida court case because one of his nine children works for the same law firm as Theodore Olson, the attorney who argued on behalf of Mr. Bush before the Supreme Court. Please.

One need not be a Clinton critic to wonder if perhaps Mr. Woodward could have found a more impartial source for such an argument. Before it worries about Justice Scalia's credibility, the media should worry about their own.

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