Fox's Kelly falsely claimed that Justice Stevens hasn't "made any bones about" being a liberal
Megyn Kelly asserted, "Between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice [John Paul] Stevens ... they haven't made any bones about their political leanings." In fact, according to a 2007 New York Times Magazine profile, Stevens has said, "I don't think of myself as a liberal at all."
On the April 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, America's Newsroom anchor and attorney Megyn Kelly asserted, "Between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice [John Paul] Stevens -- those are the two most liberal justices on the Supreme Court -- they haven't made any bones about their political leanings. That's why they were appointed by the presidents they were appointed." In fact, according to a September 23, 2007, New York Times Magazine profile, Stevens has said, "I don't think of myself as a liberal at all. ... I think as part of my general politics, I'm pretty darn conservative" [emphasis in original]. In the profile, author Jeffrey Rosen wrote that Stevens "considers himself a 'judicial conservative' ... and only appears liberal today because he has been surrounded by increasingly conservative colleagues." Rosen described Stevens "as a moderate Republican [in 1975 when] he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Supreme Court."
From the New York Times Magazine profile:
Stevens, however, is an improbable liberal icon. "I don't think of myself as a liberal at all," he told me during a recent interview in his chambers, laughing and shaking his head. "I think as part of my general politics, I'm pretty darn conservative." Stevens said that his views haven't changed since 1975, when as a moderate Republican he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to the Supreme Court. Stevens's judicial hero is Potter Stewart, the Republican centrist, whom Stevens has said he admires more than all of the other justices with whom he has served. He considers himself a "judicial conservative," he said, and only appears liberal today because he has been surrounded by increasingly conservative colleagues. "Including myself," he said, "every judge who's been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell" -- nominated by Richard Nixon in 1971 -- "has been more conservative than his or her predecessor. Except maybe Justice Ginsburg. That's bound to have an effect on the court."
Stevens has been described as a "moderate Republican" in other media reports as well. In an August 4, 1987, article (accessed via Nexis), the Los Angeles Times reported that "[Judge Robert] Bork has differed with some conservatives in the past and recently was praised by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a moderate Republican." Stevens was also identified as a "moderate" Republican in a September 11, 1988, Washington Post article (retrieved from the Nexis database), which reported that "[i]f [Democratic presidential nominee Michael] Dukakis were to replace both the liberal wing and [Justice Byron] White, moderate Republican Justice John Paul Stevens likely would find himself in the exact center of the court, with four Dukakis appointees to his left on most issues and four Reagan appointees generally to his right."
From the April 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: All right, now. Ginsburg -- this is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is the most liberal Supreme Court justice, gives a speech in Ohio, Wiehl, where she says that foreign law should be taken into account when American law is being adjudicated, and you say?
LIS WIEHL (Fox News legal analyst): I think that's absolutely right.
O'REILLY: You do?
WIEHL: No. The media has blown this up, saying, "Oh, she's saying, you know, foreign law is binding. We have to follow foreign law in the United States." That's not what she's saying. She's saying, "You've got to look at foreign law, or you should look at foreign law, just like you'd look at a law review by a law professor." You look at the Bible --
O'REILLY: So you should just --
WIEHL: -- you look at references materials.
O'REILLY: You should just read it for fun is what she's saying? I didn't get that. I got that she wanted the foreign law to be considered.
WIEHL: To read it and it can be considered. And the Supreme Court, wholly apart from Ginsburg, has considered foreign law in the past. You think about --
O'REILLY: All right. Kelly used to cover the court. What do you say?
KELLY: The Supreme Court has done it.
KELLY: The liberal justices on the Supreme Court --
O'REILLY: Have done it.
WIEHL: Have done it.
KELLY -- as the conservative justices were kicking and screaming, saying, "This is ridiculous. Why are we looking to France for an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution?"
O'REILLY: Right. And remember, France has the Napoleonic Code -- I should have been a lawyer, here, because I wouldn't even have to go to school; just take the bar -- which is, "You're guilty, and you've got to prove yourself innocent." Not the same way.
Look, I believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a one-worlder. That's what I've always believed. She's a far-left judge. But she also said, Kelly, that military action in the war on terror should be run by police rules. Did she not?
KELLY: Listen --
O'REILLY: Did she not?
KELLY: Yeah. She did.
O'REILLY: Thank you.
KELLY: But Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- does this come as a shock to you? She -- I don't think she's --
O'REILLY: No, but I want everybody to know who's sitting on the court, and a lot of people don't.
KELLY: Does that come as a shock to our viewers? Between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stevens -- those are the two most liberal justices on the Supreme Court -- they haven't made any bones about their political leanings. That's why they were appointed by the presidents they were appointed. And that's fine. They're allowed to be liberal.
You can have liberal Supreme Court justices, just as you can have conservative Supreme Court justices. The problem in this country is now we've gotten into some litmus test where your political views are a deal-breaker for the U.S. Senate.
O'REILLY: I don't think they should have political views, though. [unintelligible]
KELLY: Yes, they should have.
WIEHL: How could they not?
O'REILLY: I don't believe we should be --
KELLY: Don't be ridiculous.
O'REILLY: Ideologues go, "Oh" --
KELLY: So, Justice [Antonin] Scalia, who is a die-hard Catholic and has come out and said, "Yes, I'm a social conservative." He should be booted off?
O'REILLY: I don't think we should --
KELLY: He shouldn't be allowed to be on the court because he has those views?
O'REILLY: I'm not booting anybody anywhere. I think -- if I were president, I would appoint non-ideological judges. That's what I --
KELLY: Ideological is one thing. But if they have views, you say they shouldn't [unintelligible]
O'REILLY: Views are OK.
KELLY: They shouldn't have views on what's --
O'REILLY: But if you look at Ginsburg's record -- at least Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas vote against sometimes. She never does.
WIEHL: But at least she's coming out --
O'REILLY: It's straight down the line.
WIEHL: She's coming out and saying what she believes in.
O'REILLY: She shouldn't have to show up. They just check it. If it's liberal, she's voting that way.
KELLY: I'm not going to argue with that -- you on that. Because I do think Scalia and Thomas -- well, not Thomas, but Scalia goes to the middle more than Ginsburg goes to the middle.
O'REILLY: Thomas does sometimes. Sometimes.