A lede in today’s Miami Herald:
The U.S. Supreme Court let stand Monday a Civil War-era law that bars felons from voting in Florida, ending a five-year legal battle waged on behalf of 600,000 ex-felons by civil-rights groups who argued the lifetime ban is biased against blacks.
We can have a debate over whether barring felons from voting is a good idea — I’m considerably less offended by it than many others — but why must anybody refer to it in a newspaper lede as “a Civil War-era law”? The only reason can be a desire to make it sound antiquated, as if it’s positively backward. Old=bad. But at least there’s some truth-in-advertising here. If only more liberal journalists, when they cover Supreme Court, referred to the Constitution as a “faded, 18th-century document currently warehoused in the National Archives.” At least we’d know where they’re coming from.