Fox News' Bream uncritically repeats conservative claim Obama judicial nominee “has ties” to ACORN

Fox News reporter Shannon Bream said regarding appeals court nominee David Hamilton: “Critics say Hamilton has ties to the liberal activist group ACORN.” Bream did not note that Hamilton's “ties” reportedly consist of “raising contributions door-to-door for the advocacy group ACORN for one month after college” in 1979.

Reporting on President Obama's nominee for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, David Hamilton, Fox News Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream asserted on the March 18 edition of Special Report, “Critics say Hamilton has ties to the liberal activist group ACORN,” echoing Pat Robertson's assertion on the March 18 edition of the Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club that Hamilton is “an activist for ACORN.” However, Bream did not note that Hamilton's “ties” reportedly consist of “raising contributions door-to-door for the advocacy group ACORN for one month after college” in 1979.

In addition, the Chicago Tribune's The Swamp blog, MSNBC's First Read blog and USA Today's The Oval blog all quoted the Judicial Confirmation Network calling Hamilton a “former fundraiser for ACORN” without noting that Hamilton's fundraising for ACORN reportedly took place for one summer 30 years ago after Hamilton finished college and before entering law school.

The Washington Times reported: “After college as a young man, he served one month as a canvasser for ACORN, helping them raise money door to door.” Indeed, in the nomination questionnaire for his 1994 appointment to the Southern District of Indiana, which Right Wing Watch posted on its website, Hamilton was asked to list every organization he has been associated with since graduation from college. Hamilton listed “Summer 1979 -- fundraiser for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

Further, at no point during Special Report did Bream note that both Indiana senators, Republican Richard Lugar and Democrat Evan Bayh, have expressed support for Hamilton. According to the White House press release:

“I enthusiastically support the Senate confirmation of David Hamilton for U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Hamilton has served the Southern District of Indiana with distinction as U.S. District Court Judge,” U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar said.

“I was proud to work side by side with Senator Lugar to recommend Judge Hamilton for this lifetime appointment,” said U.S. Senator Evan Bayh. “President Obama is right that Democrats and Republicans can work together to put highly qualified jurists on the federal bench. Judge Hamilton is an exceptional jurist who has demonstrated the highest ethical standards and a firm commitment to applying our country's laws fairly.”

From the March 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BAIER: President Obama has made his first judicial appointment. U.S. District Judge David Hamilton has been named to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Correspondent Shannon Bream is here to tell us what this selection reveals about the president's judicial philosophy. Good evening, Shannon.

BREAM: Hi, Bret. Well, as the president's first judicial pick, David Hamilton is being scrutinized not only on his own qualifications but also to see what his record says about what kind of judges the president will choose going forward, with the long-term focus on that big prize -- the Supreme Court. Hamilton is an experienced federal judge who has support from Democrats and Republicans and many supporters who say he is a perfect fit.

KATHRYN KOLBERT (president of People for the American Way) [video clip]: He's demonstrated his facility with the law, his willingness to apply it on a case-by-case basis, to really be a guardian of the Constitution -- and that's a very, very important role in our society.

BREAM: Hamilton's is just the first of many nominations the president will have the opportunity to make, with 52 openings in federal district courts and 15 at the appellate level. Critics say Hamilton has ties to the liberal activist group ACORN and the ACLU, and they're worried the president will pack the courts with others just like him.

WENDY LONG (Judicial Confirmation Network legal counsel) [video clip]: He is a real, real left liberal, and it's funny that the White House is trying to portray him as some kind of moderate. If he's a moderate, I shudder to think what we can expect coming down the pike.

BREAM: Just days ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave no hints about which justice could be the next to leave the Supreme Court, but said there could soon be an opening -- Bret.

BAIER: Shannon, thank you.