Washington Post, Page A03 Sunday (A1 in early editions), “Fewer See Balance in Court’s Decisions.”
About half of the public thinks the Supreme Court is generally balanced in its decisions, but a growing number of Americans say the court has become “too conservative” in the two years since President Bush began nominating justices, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Nearly a third of the public — 31 percent — thinks the court is too far to the right, a noticeable jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That’s when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Quick, and don’t cheat. Name five decisions the Supreme Court handed down in the last term. And were those decisions “conservative” or “liberal?”
All this polls tells us is that after a year of being told incessantly — and incorrectly — by the media that the court was handing down “conservative” decisions, more people in a survey say the court is more conservative, and maybe too conservative. One of the cases most often cited to make the argument is the court’s ruling upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. Conservative? The law passed the Senate in 2003 by a vote of 64-34 and the House by 281-142. Seems pretty popular, bipartisan, not by any stretch “conservative.” The court’s ruling upheld the policymaking branch’s ability to make policy. Only those who prefer an activist court, one that legislates, would term that “conservative.”
And look at the first person quoted in the story: Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way. A Google search of the Washington Post and Ralph G. Neas has him cited 67 times. What a circle of circles: Post writes stories arguing the court is conservative, quotes Ralph G. Neas warning of its dangerous conservatism, contracts for poll that shows public has been influenced by Washington Post saying court is conservative, and then quotes Ralph G. Neas avering it so. And the media wonder why people don’t trust them.
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