National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan has been widely quoted in media outlets spreading myths and falsehoods about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
We've previously documented numerous smears and falsehoods advanced by Ed Whelan, an NRO blogger and president of the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center, in his efforts to prevent the confirmation of President Obama's judicial nominees. Despite his long track record of being wrong, he remains the person media turn to when they need a quote about Supreme Court nominees.
But as today's Wall Street Journal demonstrates, Whelan is outside of the mainstream even among conservatives:
Lawyers who have reviewed Judge Wood's rulings said that while she often leans left on social issues, she typically issues restrained opinions that build on existing law.
"Her opinions are all very scholarly" said Michael Greve, a legal expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. "She is not a bleeding heart," he added.
Judge Wood's ample record on abortion contrasts with the less well-defined views of the two other leading candidates, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Washington, D.C., federal appellate Judge Merrick Garland. This means some conservatives are likely to protest more loudly if Judge Wood gets the nod.
"There is no appellate judge in the U.S. who has a more extreme record on abortion than Diane Wood," said M. Edward Whelan III, a judicial-confirmation specialist at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Washington think tank.
Even Greve, who has appeared in numerous events for the right-wing legal organization the Federalist Society, acknowledges that Wood produces "scholarly" opinions that show that she is "not a bleeding heart." But there goes Whelan, declaring her an extremist.
Given that Whelan has previously pushed falsehoods about Wood's abortion-related opinions and tried to smear Obama appellate nominee Goodwin Liu as unqualified despite Liu's support from several prominent conservatives, this isn't surprising. What is surprising is that the media continue to turn to Whelan for judicial commentary.
A report by Shannon Bream falsely suggested that Sen. Patrick Leahy eliminated a question on judicial activism from the questionnaire for Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination. In fact, Leahy reportedly removed the question in 2007 pursuant to a bipartisan agreement.
Numerous media figures have pointed to a sentence from a 2001 speech by Sonia Sotomayor to characterize her or her comments as being "racist" while ignoring the point of Sotomayor's speech, which undercuts their criticisms.
Some media figures have postulated that if a white male or a conservative had made the equivalent of Sonia Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark, they would be branded a racist, "run out of town," "properly banished from polite society," or "railroaded off the [judicial] bench."