Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Ted Kennedy Swings and Misses


It’s bad enough that the Washington Post’s Outlook editors had the bad judgment to print Teddy Kennedy’s tripe (which, beyond Matt’s devastating points, doesn’t even have the virtue of being timely).  It’s even worse that, as I discovered this morning, the piece is featured on Outlook’s front page.  

And on page 2, to no evident end, Outlook runs a long excerpt from the ABA task force report’s sloppy and tendentious summary (see my point 3 here) of the history of presidential signing statements and, in a brief editor’s introduction, mistakenly asserts that President Bush has issued “more than 750” signing statements.  As buried footnote 52 of the report states, “It is important to understand that these numbers refer to the number of challenges to provisions of laws rather than to the number of signing statements.”  And, although they try to summarize the task force’s primary recommendation, the Outlook editors show no sign of awareness of how loopy the task force’s analysis and recommendation are. 

Unfortunately, these pieces are all too typical of the consistently poor quality of the Sunday Outlook section, which has lots of boring, mediocre articles and very little diversity of viewpoint.  (I would not apply this same general criticism to the Post’s editorial page, which I think generally is interesting and open to a range of views in the op-eds that it publishes.)


One quality piece in today’s Outlook section is Ben Wittes’s interesting essay presenting Chief Justice Roberts’s views on the judicial-confirmation process and Wittes’s own recommendation for reform.  Too bad for Wittes that his piece is buried on the fourth page—and paired with the carryover from Kennedy’s screed.


Tags: Whelan


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