WashPost Tools Hound Alito, Thomas, Downplayed RBG’s Public Partisanship

News & Politics

Before the liberal media had to publicly admit President Biden’s cognitively impaired, they were relentlessly consumed with a years-long campaign (that now exists in the background) to delegitimize the Supreme Court and turn the American public against it because of rulings they refuse to accept.

An examination of headlines from The Washington Post revealed a comical double standard in coverage of these two supposed national scandals — the two flag-flying flaps by Justice Alito and who Justice Clarence Thomas’s choice of who he spends free time with — compared to when Donald Trump laid into the now-late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020 for having trashed him years earlier.

Using “recusal” and “Trump” then each of the justice’s names, a search of The Post’s archives revealed an even more stunning double standard with over 1,100 results for the manufactured Alito hubbub, roughly 3,000 for Thomas, but only 234 for Ginsburg.

In May 2024 when the Alito hubbub was still at a fever pitch, the walking parody Philip Bump had a whiny May 29 piece with the headline “Samuel Alito Has Decided That Samuel Alito Is Sufficiently Impartial”.

The Post also ran an AP story (since removed from their site, as evidenced by this dead link) with this header: “To recuse or refuse? A look at Supreme Court justices’ decisions on whether to step aside in cases”.

In it, reporter Mark Sherman whined (click “expand”):

In declining to step aside from two high-profile Supreme Court cases, Justice Samuel Alito on Wednesday provided a rare window on the opaque process by which justices decide to step aside from cases.

Alito faced calls from Democrats to recuse from two cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants because of the controversy over flags that flew over his homes.

(….)

Revelations about the flags came as the court is considering cases related to the Jan. 6 riot, including charges faced by the rioters and whether Trump has immunity from prosecution on election interference charges.

In letters to members of Congress, Alito said he had no involvement in flying an upside-down flag over his home in 2021 and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag at his New Jersey beach house last year. He said his wife, Martha-Ann, was responsible for both flags. His impartiality, he said, could not reasonably be questioned.

(….)

Supreme Court justices decide for themselves whether and when to recuse from a case. On rare occasions, a party to a case will ask a justice to recuse.

(….)

Alito pointed to the Supreme Court’s ethics code to explain that justices have an obligation to take part in a case unless their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. In this instance, he said, anyone “not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases” would see that recusal is not required.

Longtime leftist court observer and columnist Ruth Marcus similarly bemoaned that day of the justice and his wife Martha-Ann having “one weird marriage” with there also being “reasons to question Alito’s candor and judgment here” since he “wrapped himself in an unconvincing blend of faux feminism and free speech, with an Alito-esque helping of victimhood.”

The tone of the Thomas coverage has been similar, as well, painting Justice Thomas as being in a bizarre, creepy marriage.

Post Courts reporter Tobi Raji giddily proclaimed on February 6 that “Thomas is facing calls from Democrats and court transparency advocates to recuse himself from a case examining whether former president Donald Trump can appear on 2024 primary election ballots nationwide”, adding (click “expand”):

Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about Thomas’s ability to remain impartial in this and several other Jan. 6-related cases given the involvement of his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, in the movement to overturn the 2020 election results. The ballot disqualification case, which is likely to be decided quickly, is a test of the court’s recently released code of conduct and recusal guidelines.

(….)

The Supreme Court’s newly adopted ethics code asks the justices to disqualify themselves if their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the Justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.”

The code suggests recusal if a justice or their spouse has “an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding” or is “likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.” Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who previously served on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers, notably recused herself from one of two cases examining the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions practices in 2022 because Harvard was the defendant.

However, the decision to recuse is up to the individual justice — a point of contention among critics including Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who is sponsoring legislation to impose an enforceable ethics code on the justices.

Flashing back to an earlier chapter in this manufactured hubbub, The Post breathlessly boasted on March 27, 2022: “Democrats urge Clarence Thomas to recuse himself after wife’s texts; Republicans continue to defend the justice’s integrity”.

Many of The Post articles spoke glowingly of ProPublica’s sham reporting, which of course resulted in a Pulitzer for the liberal non-profit.

One particular column from March 30, 2022 by none other than walking meme Jennifer Rubin was egregious: “The Thomas scandal exemplifies the rot spoiling our democracy.”

Rubin huffed that “[w]e lack institutional mechanisms to restrain and punish public figures who don’t ethically police themselves” and argued that Thomas’s existence was proof of “the slow deterioration of our democracy.”

Five days earlier, the editorial board called Thomas’s wife Ginni “a political extremist” and thus “a problem for the court” and the justice needed to recuse himself from politically sensitive cases or there would be “further erosion of public faith” in the third coequal branch of government.

Well, the liberal media seem to have achieved their objective as evidenced by a May 24, 2023 piece by staff writer Aaron Blake with this boast as a headline: “Clarence Thomas’s image takes a hit”.

Finally, there’s Ginsburg. Here was a brief summary from a March 2020 column in The Wall Street Journal by Emory University law professor Michael J. Broyde:

In public interviews in 2016 she called Candidate Trump a “faker” and said: “I can’t imagine what this place would be—I can’t imagine what the country would be—with Donald Trump as our president.” She even mused about fleeing the country: “‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.” She apologized—kind of: “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office.” She admitted her remarks were “ill advised,” and that “in the future I will be more circumspect.”

The controversy died down, in part because hardly anyone expected Mr. Trump to become president. Now that he’s raised the matter again, is he right? The answer seems to be yes. Litigants—including Mr. Trump—have a right to appear before judges who have not prejudged the case or the person.

Sure, there were some tough pieces in 2016 and 2017, such as “Justice Ginsburg has come explaining to do” and “In bashing Donald Trump, some say Ruth Bader Ginsburg just crossed a very important line”, but again, they were in short supply versus Alito and Thomas.

But when Trump sounded off on this, they rushed to Ginsburg’s defense when, on February 24, 2020, Trump tweeted about how Ginsburg should recuse herself “on all Trump, or Trump related, matters” in order to preserve “fairness”.

Instead of diving into the merits, the liberal media pitched a hissy fit. At The Post, they made Trump’s reaction out to be unhinged, not Ginsburg’s words. This was a news story from February 25, 2020: “Trump slams Sotomayor and Ginsburg, says they should recuse themselves from ‘Trump-related’ cases”.

Here was the lede from Meagan Flynn and Brittany Shammas (click “expand”):

President Trump went after Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a pair of tweets and at a news conference in India on Tuesday, days after Sotomayor issued a dissent critical of the Trump administration’s legal strategy and the court’s majority for enabling it.

Tweeting just before appearing at a welcome ceremony at the Indian president’s ceremonial residence in New Delhi, Trump cited a Laura Ingraham segment on Fox News titled, “Sotomayor accuses GOP-appointed justices of being biased in favor of Trump.” He then called on Sotomayor and Ginsburg to recuse themselves in all Trump-related matters.

“Trying to ‘shame’ some into voting her way?” Trump said of Sotomayor. “She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a ‘faker’. Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related matters! While ‘elections have consequences’, I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!”

The article cited a tweet from liberal court observer and now-CNN legal contributor Steve Vladeck, who defended Sotomayor as “right” for claiming GOP-appointed justices are biased.

That same day, then-lead Court reporter Robert Barnes and political reporter Ashley Parker kvetched that Trump “escalat[ed] an unorthodox battle” with a “broadside” against “the judiciary from which even his own lawyers have advised retreat” and went astray from “what normally is an arm’s-length distance between the White House and the high court, and cast the disagreements into starkly personal terms.”

If Trump tweets are “personal” attacks, then what has Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) entire bit been against Thomas?

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