John Roberts, Linda Greenhouse, Media and Journalism, New York Times, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Linda Greenhouse: A Drama Queen in Capri Pants?

Linda Greenhouse 5 New York Times Above the Law blog.JPGIn case you haven’t noticed, we’re kinda obsessed with Linda Greenhouse, the longtime Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. But we’re afraid she’s not our biggest fan. :-(
At the recent (and excellent) ACS National Convention, Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog moderated a fantastic panel on covering the Supreme Court. One of the panelists was Linda Greenhouse. After the panel, we approached and introduced ourselves. Her sarcastic response: “Oh, so you’re the famous David Lat.”
(Ouch — but we loved it. Getting abused by divas is one of our favorite pastimes!)
We praised her work. La Greenhouse quipped, quasi-snarkily (you had to be there): “Do you already have what I said up on the web?”
We offered her our business card, which she finally took — after pointedly letting it hover in the air. She did not proffer hers, then strode away, capri pants flapping in the ballroom’s air conditioning.
So yes, Linda Greenhouse — we had a reason for bringing her up. Did you catch her “Supreme Court Memo” in yesterday’s Times, on Chief Justice John Roberts’s recent seizure?
We have some meta-commentary on it. Check it out, after the jump.


Linda Greenhouse wrote a “Supreme Court Memo” on Chief Justice Roberts’s recent seizure, fall, and hospitalization. In its seamless, artful blending of reporting and opinion, it reminded us of her deliciously catty “Reporter’s Notebook” item (when she took some potshots at Jan Crawford Greenburg).
Bloggers can be opinionated and speculate breathlessly; it’s our job. But shouldn’t the New York Times be more sober? Here’s a squib from Greenhouse’s write-up, which sounds like the treatment for a telenovela called La Corte Suprema:

Barely a month ago, [Chief Justice John Roberts] was presiding over the close of a dramatic Supreme Court term in which he and his ideological allies were clearly ascendant. At the top of his game, he promptly flew to Europe for lectures and meetings with the cream of the Continent’s legal establishment.

Then out of the blue, on a clear summer day, he became a middle-age man in need of emergency medical treatment, hospitalized and confronting the implications of a condition that could affect his life in big and small ways like requiring daily medication or making it inadvisable to drive a car.

In October, when he returns to his seat at the center of the Supreme Court bench, will colleagues and courtroom spectators see the same golden youth whose trajectory was unmarked by setback or sorrow? Or will they see someone suddenly vulnerable, with a medical condition that, while treatable and shared by millions, can still inspire fear?

Or to dig deeper, might this encounter with illness even change the way John Roberts sees himself, his job or the world?

Umm, yeah, okay…
Here’s what a reader had to say about Greenhouse’s piece (bracketed commentary by the reader):

Greenhouse writes: “Could adversity temper a jurisprudence that critics of the chief justice [ahem, like me, Linda G.] have discerned [!!!] as bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people who fail to file their appeals on time?”

Is she expecting some miraculous Dave-like transformation into a plaintiff-hugging, liberal judicial activist?

Our correspondent continues:

Oh, and by the way, I guess the members of Congress who passed the habeas time limits that the Court enforced must also be “bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people.”

What’s next? Is she going to quote third-rate academic “critics” scratching their balding pates, wondering how wheelchair-bound Charles Krauthammer could support the Iraq war, despite his “adversity”?

How low can you go, Linda? What do the liberals always march around screaming… SHAME? SHAME?

Well, dear reader, tell us how you REALLY feel!
Uncertainty Now in a Golden Youth’s Trajectory [New York Times]

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