ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News reported Lindsey Graham's citation of anonymous criticism of Sonia Sotomayor published in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary without noting that Sotomayor's 2nd Circuit Court colleague reportedly called such criticism "sexist."
In covering the first day of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, the three evening network news broadcasts either presented her "wise Latina" comment out of context, reported Republicans' criticisms of a judge employing "empathy" without noting numerous conservatives' previous support for such qualities in a judge, or both.
In the days leading up to Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, which began July 13, several media figures and outlets have repeated or uncritically reported Republican distortions of Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comments without providing the context for her remarks.
CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC all took a comment Judge Sonia Sotomayor made on the role of the circuit court during a 2005 forum out of context. The context makes clear that Sotomayor was actually explaining the difference between district and appeals court justices, not claiming that she "believes court of appeals justices should make policy."
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Covering the nomination hearing of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., NBC News correspondent Pete Williams asserted that "Alito himself told the senators this week that a president does not have the power to disregard a law." But Williams based this on only a part of a response Alito gave on the issue of presidential power. In fact, Alito's entire response on the issue constitutes a legal truism that tells senators nothing about his views on presidential power versus congressional power -- that the president cannot disregard a law that is constitutional. Simply put, Alito told the committee that the president has to follow the law except when he doesn't have to.
In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearing, NBC correspondent Pete Williams noted that despite a 1985 job application expressing Alito's "very strong" personal belief that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," Alito's supporters say his personal views "don't count, that when he puts on a judge's robes, he follows the law, including the legal precedent upholding abortion rights." But Williams ignored the distinction between an appellate judge, who is bound by higher court precedents, and a Supreme Court justice, who might not be.
NBC correspondent Pete Williams falsely claimed that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was following Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's precedent in his dissent in favor of spousal notification in an abortion-rights case and that O'Connor subsequently "changed her mind." In fact, that case, upon its appeal to the Supreme Court, was O'Connor's first ruling on spousal notification.