From the road, Ed Whelan reminds me that one might fruitfully contrast today’s burial of the lead (sorry, I can hardly bring myself to type the word “lede”) by Linda Greenhouse with the big play the ACLU v. NSA case got in its previous two rounds. Too true. When Judge Anna Diggs Taylor handed down her district court ruling, ordering the NSA to “shut down” its terrorist surveillance program, it made the front page of the New York Times on August 18, 2006, in a 1,400-word story by Adam Liptak and Eric Lichtblau. When a panel of the Sixth Circuit overturned Diggs by a 2-1 vote, it again made the front page of the Times, in a 900-word story by Liptak on July 7, 2007. Clearly these judicial decisions were big news.
Today, reporting that the ACLU failed yesterday to round up even four Supreme Court justices to vote for certiorari to reconsider the Sixth Circuit ruling, Linda Greenhouse pushes the news down to the tenth paragraph of a story that leads with a truly trivial case, and her editors put the story on page 15. That should be called a mercy killing, carried out for Linda’s friends at the ACLU.