SCOTUS Leak Freakout Update: The Times’ Unethical Editorial Of The Month

It’s rare that one sees blunt incivility in an old and revered political publication like the National Review, but here was the headline of Charles Cook’s column there yesterday:

The New York Times’ Editorial Board Is Apparently Extremely Stupid

I had read the editorial and my reaction had been the same, except that I would have been tempted to leave out “apparently.” I’d also categorize this as old news, at least to readers of Ethics Alarms. Then, for a nonce, I regretted the absence of self-exiled commenter “A Friend,” since his predictable efforts to defend the indefensible in the Times would have been particularly entertaining in this case.

Here’s the the paragraph Cooke was reacting to:

Imagine that every state were free to choose whether to allow Black people and white people to marry. Some states would permit such marriages; others probably wouldn’t. The laws would be a mishmash, and interracial couples would suffer, legally consigned to second-class status depending on where they lived.

This is the newspaper that is regarded as the flagship of the news media. This is the newspaper that holds itself up as a paragon of objective news analysis. This is a newspaper that claims that its perspective isn’t skewed by a progressive bias.

This is the newspaper I have been paying almost 90 bucks a month to have delivered every day for four years. Yes, I’m stupid too.

Here, in part, is what Cooke writes in his understandable disgust:

The Times’ editors aren’t merely suggesting that we wouldn’t want X, so we shouldn’t want Y, either, and nor are they making specious legal arguments about the likely consequences of restoring Glucksberg. They’re contending that, absent the (entirely safe) ruling in Loving v. Virginia, some U.S. states would move to end interracial marriage, such that “the laws would be a mishmash, and interracial couples would suffer, legally consigned to second-class status depending on where they lived.”

This is nonsense. It is ignorant. It is stupid.

The debate over Roe v. Wade has been a fixture of American politics for fifty years….It is a live question. Interracial marriage? Not so much. Here’s Gallup, from September of last year:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ninety-four percent of U.S. adults now approve of marriages between Black people and White people, up from 87% in the prior reading from 2013. The current figure marks a new high in Gallup’s trend, which spans more than six decades. Just 4% approved when Gallup first asked the question in 1958.

This approval can be observed everywhere in the country.

Those numbers, for the record, are:

  • East (94%)
  • Midwest (93%)
  • South (93%)
  • West (97%)

From where, exactly, does the New York Times’ editorial board believe that the impetus would come for “some states” to ban interracial marriage? …Would Mitch McConnell, the husband of of Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan? Would Justice Clarence Thomas, the formerly segregated black man who is married to Ginni Thomas, who is white?

Oh, I can answer that. The Times editors made this stupid analogy to confuse, mislead, and propagandize the kind of knee-jerk bigots it speaks for, those who believe that conservatives and Republicans are per se racists who want reduce the nation’s freedoms and individual liberty even as they battle the Times’ ideological allies who want to restrict so many of them.

The Times editors aren’t really stupid, you see. They are ruthless and dishonest. And they know their audience.


17 thoughts on “SCOTUS Leak Freakout Update: The Times’ Unethical Editorial Of The Month

  1. I am not sure if they are intentionally trying to “confuse, mislead, and propagandize.”

    I think people are just really bad at coming up with good analogies with which to analyze things. (And, boy, has fallacious reasoning been on full display in the last week!)

    A very simple example is this one. The whole abortion issue is far more analogous to: 1) medical marijuana; 2) physician-assisted suicide; or 3) conversion therapy. These may not be perfect analogies either, but any of those three are BETTER than interracial marriage (even without looking at the stats you mention). They are all medically regulated (or banned) at the state level. The problem is that those analogies don’t involve earth-shattering consequences. The state’s just go about their business with respect to them and the world keeps on turning.

    Maybe that’s why those sorts of analogies are not used: they are just so innocuous that they escape our attention.


    • The best analogy has always been slavery, a practice justified by denying the humanity of its victims where legal, for the benefit of those with superior power, and made illegal by states where a majority of the public sees the victims as human beings being denied a basic right.

      As we saw in the case of slavery, the state by state approach has its practical and ethical drawbacks.

      • Absent the 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments, slavery is the best analogy for the reasons stated. As we have discussed before on EA, the pro-abortion side dismisses the humanity of the child in utero. Until we can address that problem, no agreement, whether legal or political can be reached.


      • Yes and no.

        On the issue of personhood, there is no better (other?) analogy than slavery.

        But, that is not what Dobbs was addressing. If Dobbs overturns Roe, it will not be on the personhood issue, it will be on whether it is protected by the Constitution. On that point, slavery is a particularly bad analogy. Slavery was certainly a federal issue: the importation of slaves was addressed as a topic for congressional action; slaves factored into representation in the House; and the full faith and credit clause in Article IV had to carve out the issue of the treatment of slaves because it was acknowledged that some states did not permit slavery.; the Supreme Court unquestionably had jurisdiction in Dred Scott; and the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Slavery, unlike abortion, was always within the province of the federal government to address.

        Of course, the personhood issue may arise again at the state level, but the current hissy-fit by the Times is the return of that power to the States.


        • Oh, I completely agree. That’s why I keep noting that Alito goes out of his way to say the opinion isn’t pro- or anti-abortion. It’s anti-pulling imaginary constitutional rights out of the air to avoid the hard work of reaching a democratic solution to a problem not anticipated in the Constitution. And it’s pro-just because stare decisus is important doesn’t mean exceptions don’t have to be made when a decision involved the Constitution and is a real stinker that hasn’t stopped stinking for 50 years.

  2. It is entirely possible that the Times editors are racist and are squeamish about interracial marriage. We can see this type of behavior in the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton popularity. Women’s groups knew how Weinstein and Clinton behaved, but viewed them as ‘good’ people anyway. They rationalize that because they are ‘good’ people and act and feel this way, their opponents must be much, much worse. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the Times editors are all racists, but because they are ‘good’ people, those evil Republicans must be worse. I see these claims that Republicans would ban interracial marriage and do all kinds of horrible things as projections by the left of their own desires.

    Remember: When the left accuses their opponents of doing something, it is because that is what the left is actually doing. In unrelated news, the head of the FDA has announced that the #1 cause of death in the US is online misinformation.

  3. The key guiding principle on all of these freak out debates is that the Democrats have 100% conceded the central thrust of abortion. Wanton killing of babies for any reason whatsoever is a losing topic. But that is 99% of abortions.

    So the dishonest and treacherous left wing of American politics has elevated the tangential issues and exceptions on the abortion debate to the core argument. They’ve elevated Roe v Wade as a bulwark to protect those exceptions as opposed to what it really is – protection of the 99% kill-fest the Democrats want to protect.

    They’ve also now, elevated a plethora of complete non-sequiturs – like gay marriage or interracial marriage to be some sort of slippery slope counterargument.

    They’re desperate because they know that the core – central thrust of the pro-abortion zealots is vastly unpopular.

  4. The one decision that I think *could be* on the chopping block is same-sex marriage. The conservatives on the court were firmly convinced it was a state issue, not a federal one. All the other stuff about interracial marriage is exaggerated nonsense.

    We have become so used to everything being a federal issue that we have lost sight of federalism. Our system is not designed to have a national government doing everything. The whole point of America is to let individual states decide questions that the constitution is silent on. This allows people to live in relative peace because we aren’t all constantly fighting over the levers of power.

    However, because the court has arguably overstepped it’s role for so long, it may not even be possible to go back without causing chaos. We will see though.

    • The main vulnerability of Obergefell is the weak opinion by Kennedy, who understated the Equal Protection issue. But I just don’t see it: undoing marriages would be chaos, and unlike the case with Roe, there are no human lives at stake here. Moreover, the nation isn’t split on same sex marriage like it has been on abortion. And what case would even raise the issue sufficiently for the Court to get involved?

      • Is it lost in the shuffle that the supreme court doesn’t actually make any laws? And that they only get to look at laws via a lower court action on a particular law? Where does this interracial marriage talk come from? Or, as a non-lawyer, am I all wet? Could use some education.

        • The average member of the public doesn’t get that nuance. Of course, the Warren Court didn’t help, by doing such legislative things as writing the “Miranda Warnings.” It’s hard for many to tell the difference between declaring it unconstitutional to segregate schools and “passing a law” requiring integration. Similarly,finding a right to abortion in the 9th Amendment had the effect of making a “law” declaring abortion legal, but the “law,” according to Roe, was there all along.

          Yes, competent civic ed would be nice.

          • “Yes, competent civic ed would be nice.”

            We just returned from the UK, where in one chat a woman asked if abortion was going to be illegal in the US. I tried to briefly explain federalism, and how a ruling agians Roe would just return the issue to the individual states. She then asked if people would be allowed to go to another state for abortions, if they would be in trouble if they did, if we were alowed to travel to other states without “permission”, etc. She didn’t seem like a stupid person, and can of course be excused (more so than a citizen) for a lack of in-depth knowledge of US systems, but we had to wonder if she got much of her information from hyperbolic leftist American MSM sources.

            More encouraging, was the fact that in spite of official posted notices urging people to wear masks in public, almost no one was doing so, even in crowded places like the Londonistan tube, and theater peformances. No covid test was required for entry to the UK (compared to the day before travel requirement still in place for returing to the US). There were even hints of a bit of push for more freedom of speech there; e.g.: see particularly the back cover “op-ed” in this Wetherspoon (pub chain) in-house magazine:

            • “She then asked if people would be allowed to go to another state for abortions, if they would be in trouble if they did, if we were allowed to travel to other states without “permission”, etc.”
              Is there a right to travel in the USA Constitution? I don’t recall seeing one. Could the government restrict travel to another state if it so desires?
              I remember some years ago when abortion was still illegal in Ireland a discussion about stopping pregnant women going to a different country if they were going for an abortion.

      • It would be chaos. That’s why I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s most likely of the unlikely parade of horribles the left is pushing right now.

        Alito, Thomas, and Roberts all voted against Kennedy. This means the only question would be Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. An Alito, Thomas, Roberts, and Barret, and Kavanaugh is possible.

        I don’t think it’s likely, but because of who is on the court, it’s possible. Not sure how they would do it, but I’m sure someone could come up with a clever legal argument.

  5. An antifa associated group claimed responsibility for an attack on the offices of Wisconsin Family Action. They’re an anti abortion group. The attack involved graffiti and at least one Molotov cocktail. No people were injured, and fire damage was minimal.
    Last week, another antifa group allegedly attacked a pregnancy center in Portland as well.

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