We’re delighted that our scoop about Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh pushing Linda Greenhouse over Justice Samuel Alito for the YLS Award of Merit has been picked up so widely. It even made the pages of the Holy Trinity of the Right-of-Center Blawgosphere: Instapundit, Volokh Conspiracy (Jonathan Adler), and Althouse.
As noted, our transcript of the deliberations was fictionalized and satirical. But it is based upon what we’ve learned about the process by which Greenhouse was selected.
If you disbelieve our account in its entirety, allow us to share with you some supporting information. This isn’t the first time that Dean Koh has been accused of showing favoritism towards Linda Greenhouse. Consider the case of the Harry Blackmun papers.
Koh, a former law clerk to Justice Blackmun and advisor to his daughter Sally, played a major role in giving Linda Greenhouse exclusive, early access to Blackmun’s papers — much to the chagrin of other news organizations. As reported at the time by Tony Mauro:
Blackmun’s daughter Sally, the executor for the papers, said in an interview last week that Linda Greenhouse, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, and Nina Totenberg, longtime Court correspondent for National Public Radio, have been given exclusive pre-release access to the papers for their respective media of print and broadcast journalism….
The Washington Post asked for early access before the exclusive arrangement was made, but was denied. Editors at the Post were described by one knowledgeable source outside the newspaper as “livid” over the favored treatment granted to the Times.
Executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. and Post attorney David Kendall of Williams & Connolly repeatedly sought reconsideration of the exclusive deal, without success, according to sources at the Post. The Post petitioned Sally Blackmun and Yale Law School professor Harold Koh, a former clerk to the justice and now an adviser to Blackmun.
A Post source says that Koh invited the newspaper to make a proposal for early access last July, but did not mention a deadline. According to the source, by the time the Post replied in September with a plan for non-exclusive early access, the decision had already been made to give the Times exclusive access.
Say it ain’t so! Dean Koh had already made up his mind, in favor of La Greenhouse? Quelle surprise!
For her part, Greenhouse says she began talking with Koh last July, but did not seek exclusivity. The offer to give the Times the only print media preview “fell in my lap,” she says….
Koh declined to comment on why Greenhouse and Totenberg were selected.
So what is the origin of Linda Greenhouse’s Svengali-like power over Harold Koh?
We have a theory. Check it out, along with a bunch of interesting links, after the jump.
Here’s our speculation: It’s well-known that Dean Koh harbors Supreme Court ambitions. And having Linda Greenhouse and the New York Times supporting and pushing his SCOTUS candidacy, when the time comes, would be a very good thing for Koh.
Moreover, if you’re a Liberal-Justice-in-Training, there’s no better way to prepare for your role than by befriending Linda G. Greenhouse gets the famously reticent justices to spill their guts like nobody’s business. As noted by Orin Kerr, with respect to this recent Greenhouse piece:
My favorite line from the story: “In private conversations, the justices themselves insist that nothing so profound is going on, but rather seem mystified at what they perceive as a paucity of cases that meet the court’s standard criteria.” I think this is right; I’m not aware of any juicy cases with clear splits and no vehicle problems that the Court inexplicably turned away.
But even more interesting is the fact that Greenhouse would not only think to ask Justices their views of this problem, but would actually get answers from them for the paper. Now that’s access.
And this isn’t the first time she’s scored such scoops. Remember her article about the dearth of female Supreme Court clerks? For that piece, she scored on-the-record comments from four — count ‘em, four — justices: O’Connor, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. (These same four members of the SCOTUS also showed up at Linda Greenhouse’s book party.)
We now remind you of the nickname we bestowed upon Linda Greenhouse back in March 2005: “the Femme Fatale of One First Street.” Here’s what we wrote back then:
It would be fitting for a gorgeously seductive movie star like [Julia] Roberts to step into the shoes of Greenhouse, the Femme Fatale of One First Street. How many women are capable of producing tectonic shifts in American jurisprudence merely by batting their eyelashes at Anthony Kennedy? Indeed, liberal Linda’s disproportionate influence over AMK was memorably dubbed “the Greenhouse Effect” (reportedly by former D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman).
Clearly this woman possesses magical powers. We have never met Linda Greenhouse in person, although we’ve wanted to for the longest time. But now we are scared. After the Femme Fatale douses us with her
magic potion famous charm, we’ll be washing her car.
Paper Chase [Tony Mauro / Legal Times]
A Book Party Supreme [Washington Post]
Yale, Alito, and Politics: A drama in one dubious act. [Instapundit]
Merit Selection [Volokh Conspiracy]
A Yale Docudrama [Althouse]
The Shrinking Supreme Court Docket [Volokh Conspiracy]