"Everybody's Gotta Read Scalia's Dissent": The Fox-Scalia Echo Chamber

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia provided fresh evidence that he and Fox News are employing the same set of dubious right-wing talking points.

In his dissent arguing in favor of Arizona's anti-immigration statute, Scalia attacked the Obama administration's decision to allow certain young immigrants to remain in the country. Scalia accused the Obama administration of not wanting to "enforce the immigration laws as written" and leaving "the States borders unprotected against immigrants" who are here without authorization. Scalia also claimed that Arizonans "feel themselves under siege" by undocumented immigrants who place Arizonans "life in jeopardy."

Scalia's language mirrors the false claims used by Fox News to attack the Obama administration's immigration record. For instance, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed that "this administration has chosen unilaterally not to enforce" immigration laws. Fox News regular guest Jay Sekulow said that Arizona is "under siege," and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. asserted that there was a "crime wave" in Arizona.

The Scalia-Fox attacks are not borne out by the facts. The Obama administration is enforcing immigration law: Deportations are up under President Obama, and deportation of criminal immigrants is 30 percent higher. Furthermore, far from being "under siege," Arizona crime rates have been dropping.

Nevertheless, Fox News responded to the Supreme Court decision by hyping Scalia's arguments. Johnson declared that "everybody's gotta read Scalia's dissent" on the Arizona case.

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade and "straight news" anchor Bill Hemmer also promoted Scalia's dissent.

This is not the first time that Scalia's rhetoric has been infused with Fox News' favorite attacks. During the oral argument on the Affordable Care Act, Scalia recycled right-wing media talking points, including misleading arguments about the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the claim that the Affordable Care could result in a mandate that people buy broccoli.

It's now clear that this is not a one-time event. You don't have to turn to Fox News to hear dubious right-wing talking points on legal issues, you can now hear it in Justice Scalia's rhetoric as well.

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