Accuracy in Media

Newsweek applied a double standard to a judicial nominee in Louisiana in a story Thursday.

On one hand, the story condemned Wendy Vitter, who has been nominated to serve as a federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana, for refusing to say whether she supported Brown v. Board of Education, the case that led to desegregation of America’s schools, and of saying things that could render her too prejudiced to function as a judge.

“When Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) asked her if she supported the Supreme Court’s decision to allow desegregated schools in Brown v. Board of Education, she hesitated in her reply.

“I think I get into a difficult area when I start commenting on Supreme Court decisions – which are correctly decided and which I may disagree with. Again, my personal, political, or religious views I would set aside.”

This is a common response to questions in confirmation hearings from senators who seek opinions on specific cases. That Blumenthal chose that case says more about him than her.

On abortion, Newsweek attempts to make the case Vitter tried to sneak her pro-life views past the Senate.

“Last year, she received a ‘Proudly Pro-Life Award’ from the New Orleans Right to Life Educational Foundation,” Newsweek reported. “Yet Vitter did not disclose a number of speeches where she has made controversial statements on abortion on a questionnaire submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“Did you omit these materials because they would cause you to face difficult questions, like the ones I’m asking, about your judgment and temperament at this confirmation hearing?’ asked Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) during Vitter’s confirmation hearings,” Newsweek reported.

Perhaps Vitter should list every speech she’s ever given, but the notion propagated by the senator and urged along by Newsweek that she is somehow trying to hide her pro-life stance is absurd. Vitter, the wife of former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is an attorney for the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.

In addition to the ‘Proudly Pro-Life Award,’ she has been recognized numerous times for her leadership on pro-life issues. It is something of a litmus test for those wishing to be appointed to the federal judiciary under Trump.

“My life is an open book,” she said at the hearing.

Hirono was most concerned, according to Newsweek, about a panel discussion Vitter took part in back in 2013. She urged attendees to visit a website of a fellow pro-life panelist, and on that website, according to Newsweek, were suggestions abortion caused breast cancer and birth control causes women to be assaulted and murdered.

“Vitter replied that she ‘had never heard those opinions before’ and was ‘not a medical professional.’”

Vitter assured senators repeatedly she could do her job and honor the precedent of even Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. But in 2013, National Public Radio pointed out, she had “spoken admiringly about laws adopted in Texas regulating abortion that were then challenged in the courts.”

Those laws were challenged in court, and some were thrown out.

She has the backing of Louisiana’s congressional delegation and even Mitch Landrieu, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans and brother of former Sen. Mary Landrieu.

NPR reported she barely squeaked by with the American Bar Association, which gave her “its lowest qualified rating, with a minority of those reviewing her record rating her ‘unqualified.’”

If they are the minority – other than to get in a dig on a conservative – why is that pointed out?

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