Bench Memos

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NYT’s Special Pleading for Editor’s Wife?


The New York Times has yet another entirely predictable house editorial lamenting that Senate Republicans are “playing an obstructionist game” on judicial nominees. The editorial doesn’t see fit to acknowledge that Republicans are using many of the same procedural tools (not including filibusters) that Senate Democrats made routine during the Bush years, much less that the NYT supported the “obstructionist game” when Democrats were playing it. (Update: Oops, just saw Carrie Severino’s related post.)

For now, I’d just like to call attention to the curious fact that the editorial seems to go out of its way to make the case that the Senate should promptly confirm during the lame-duck session not just those “noncontroversial” nominees who have been on the Senate floor for some time but also the “15 nominees cleared by the [Senate Judiciary Committee] since the November election.” Indeed, the editorial closes by condemning a rumored deal between Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell that “allows for confirmation of 19 nominees approved by the committee before the election but denies consideration by the full Senate to the others.” Such a deal, the editorial pompously declares, “would be a disservice to the judicial system, to Mr. Obama’s nominees and to the idea that bipartisanship should exist, at last, in the advise-and-consent process for federal judges.”

Hmmm, why might the New York Times editorial board be advocating so forcefully for the confirmation of 15 judicial nominees who were just approved by the Judiciary Committee—eleven on December 1, four on December 8? Might it have something to do with the fact that one of those nominees is Susan L. Carney? Carney, a deputy general counsel at Yale, received a mediocre ABA rating of substantial-majority “qualified”/minority “not qualified on her nomination to the Second Circuit. She also received three committee votes against her nomination (largely, as I understand it, because of her remarkable dearth of litigation experience), and I’ve recently heard from a reliable source that she’s hard Left.

Why, you might wonder, would I think that the NYT editorial board might have a special interest in Carney’s nomination? Well, as it turns out (as this item, among many, states), Carney’s husband is liberal journalist Lincoln Caplan, who just happens to have recently joined the NYT editorial board, where, we’re told, he “writes about the U.S. Supreme Court and other subjects related to legal affairs.”

Just wondering: Did Caplan write or review the NYT editorial?


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