WASHINGTON—George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, who has made headlines by claiming that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will let his Catholic religious views affect his job on the Court, tells Accuracy in Media (AIM) that his key source for this controversial claim was none other than liberal Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. Roberts, however, has said that he would follow the law in cases before the Court.
Having been named as a source, Durbin’s office is denying it all and claiming that Turley’s Monday Los Angeles Times column, “The Faith of John Roberts,” was apparently based on Turley’s one-minute discussion with Durbin in the NBC News make-up room after the Senator had appeared on Sunday’s Meet the Press.
“Durbin is prone to make controversial comments and even apologize for them,” stated AIM editor Cliff Kincaid. “The issue is whether Durbin has backed away from a false charge or whether Turley rushed into print with an erroneous account.”
Turley’s column claimed that Roberts, in a meeting with Durbin, had made the damaging admission that he would have to recuse himself in cases where the Constitution conflicted with his Catholic faith. Turley based the account on anonymous sources that he later identified as Durbin and his aide when the information in his column was challenged.
Turley told AIM that, “I have notes, emails, and other material supporting that I called to confirm with his aide and that the account in the article was read to him and confirmed.” Durbin press secretary Joe Shoemaker, the aide in question, disputed that, telling AIM that he did not confirm Turley’s account before it was published.
Whatever the ultimate truth, Kincaid said Turley’s column was certainly in error over his claim that the Catholic Church opposes the death penalty as “immoral.” In fact, the church does not hold that capital punishment is immoral and continues to accept its use in some cases. AIM asked that Turley correct the record on this matter but he has refused.
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.