Bench Memos

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USA Today Remains Clueless


Out-of-town travel often leads to encounters with USA Today, which almost make one appreciate the New York Times. Here’s a sentence from USA Today’s article today on Alito’s confirmation: “A Republican who opposes abortion, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, said he will be ‘disappointed’ if Alito does not vote to outlaw the procedure.”

Now one could hypothesize, I suppose, that the elementary misunderstanding set forth in this sentence — namely, that a vote against Roe is a “vote to outlaw” abortion (when it is in fact a vote to restore abortion policy to the democratic processes, where the Constitution leaves it) — is Senator Brownback’s rather than that of USA Today’s Supreme Court reporter. But that seems to me highly implausible, and there’s certainly nothing in the context of the passage that would suggest that the reporter is aware of the misunderstanding. It is mind-boggling that after some seven months of intense controversy over Supreme Court nominations, much of it centering on abortion, a Supreme Court reporter could still muff the basics.


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