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On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan misrepresented Senate votes by Democrats on the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, saying, "Roberts probably got 25 Democrats, Alito probably got a dozen." In fact, four Democrats voted to confirm Alito, while Roberts received 22 votes from Democrats.
The Washington Post editorial board endorsed the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, asserting of Roberts that he possesses "a modest conception of the judicial function and a strong belief in the stability of precedent." Since then, the Post has criticized several Supreme Court decisions written by or joined by Roberts or Alito, claiming that they show a lack of judicial restraint and fidelity to precedent. Yet the Post has given no indication that its evaluation of either nominee was flawed, or that it intends to revisit its criteria for evaluating Supreme Court nominees.
A Wall Street Journal article on the constitutionality of South Dakota's recently passed abortion ban stated that Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito "expressed skepticism about abortion rights while working for the Reagan administration." However, the suggestion that Alito merely "expressed skepticism" about abortion rights mischaracterizes his clearly articulated view that there is no constitutional right to abortion.
On Hardball, host Chris Matthews called Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) "the guy that molested" Martha-Ann Alito, Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s wife.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank depicted advocates of impeachment as a fringe element of the Democratic Party, while ignoring polling that shows that a majority of Americans believe Congress should consider impeaching Bush over his authorization of warrantless domestic surveillance. Milbank also falsely reported that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) "got only 25 of the 60 needed votes" to mount a filibuster against President Bush's nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. In fact, it was Alito's supporters who "needed" the 60 votes to end debate on the nomination.
CNN's Ed Henry said that Sen. John Kerry's call for a filibuster of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court reinforced the "elitist" label given to Kerry by the GOP during the 2004 presidential campaign because he made the statement from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. However, when CNN later interviewed Sen. Saxby Chambliss about the potential filibuster, there were no "elitist" comments to be found, even though Chambliss was also commenting from Davos.
An ABC Nightline report noting that Samuel A. Alito Jr., if confirmed, would make the Supreme Court majority Catholic stated that "liberals do have some concerns about such a Catholic court." But the report quotes no identifiable liberals or Democrats expressing this view. Nor does it mention it is supporters of President Bush's nominees who have raised the issue of their religious affiliations while attacking critics as anti-religion.
CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield falsely suggested that Media Matters for America "ha[s] been extremely angry" at Senate Democrats for being unwilling to pursue a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. In fact, Media Matters is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media" and has not taken a position on whether Alito should be confirmed or on whether senators should filibuster his nomination.
Various media outlets have failed to challenge the claims of Republican senators that they disregarded ideology when voting to confirm Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer in the 1990s. In fact, both Ginsburg and Breyer were consensus nominees, suggested to President Clinton by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and had reputations and judicial records of moderates at the time of their nominations.
A West Virginia Sunday Gazette Mail column quoted Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, that "[t]he religious right already controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives" and plans to "pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues" but then falsely attributed words to Neas, suggesting without basis that by "religious right," Neas meant "these evil churchgoers."
On CNN's On the Story, conservative blogger and radio host Hugh Hewitt accused CNN of ignoring conservative criticism of Democratic senators' performance during the nomination hearing for Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. In fact, CNN featured six solo appearances by non-senators who criticized Senate Democrats over their questioning of Alito, and no solo appearances by non-elected progressive critics of Alito. Moreover, CNN offered no opposing viewpoint to counter Hewitt's baseless accusation.
A Newsweek article argued that Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s wife bursting into tears during his nomination hearing has left Democrats "looking like bullies," thanks to "a coalition of liberal interest groups" that "pushed the lawmakers to come on stronger." But the article ignored the campaign launched by conservatives immediately after the incident to blame Democrats for Martha-Ann Alito's tears, which came during Sen. Lindsey Graham's questioning.
Covering the nomination hearing of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., NBC News correspondent Pete Williams asserted that "Alito himself told the senators this week that a president does not have the power to disregard a law." But Williams based this on only a part of a response Alito gave on the issue of presidential power. In fact, Alito's entire response on the issue constitutes a legal truism that tells senators nothing about his views on presidential power versus congressional power -- that the president cannot disregard a law that is constitutional. Simply put, Alito told the committee that the president has to follow the law except when he doesn't have to.