Bench Memos

The NYTimes Corrects the Record

Today the New York Times issued the following corrections concerning its coverage of John Roberts’s now-infamous dissent from denial of a petition for en banc review in Rancho Viejo v. Norton:

An article on July 22 about efforts by the White House to shore up support for Judge John G. Roberts Jr. among social-issue conservatives, a full year before he was nominated for the Supreme Court, referred incorrectly to his dissent in a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, involving the arroyo toad. (The error was repeated in articles on July 23 and on Tuesday.) Judge Roberts said the court should rehear the case and consider whether the Interior Department had properly invoked the Endangered Species Act in this circumstance. He did not say the federal government lacked the power to block a California real estate development because it endangered the toad.

An article on July 20 about preparations by advocacy groups to oppose Judge Roberts also referred incorrectly to his dissent. He did not question the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act.

Now it’s time for NPR’s Marketplace and Robert Reich–and all others who have made this mistake–to correct the record as well. These mistakes should never have occurred, as the meaning of Roberts’ opinion should be clear to anyone with a modicum of legal training who actually read the opinion. With luck, I won’t have to post on this issue again.

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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