Seven years ago, conservatives were widely perceived as being much more concerned with the judiciary than their progressive counterparts. Leading religious right groups held “Justice Sunday” rallies supporting President Bush’s most ideological judicial nominees, and Republican senators threatened “nuclear” tactics to eliminate judicial filibusters altogether (a tactic that, in retrospect, many Democrats now wish had succeeded). Yet a new report by Media Matters suggests that, at least among television news hosts and producers, this enthusiasm gap on judicial issues has reversed itself:
To be sure, 24 minutes of air time is nothing to write home about, but the nearly half-an-hour MSNBC spent discussing the election’s potential impact on the Supreme Court dwarfs all the other networks’ contributions. The Republican Party’s news station, Fox News, didn’t mention the topic at all.
In the years between the Bush judicial wars and today, the conservative Supreme Court gave wealthy corporations nearly limitless ability to spend their fortunes to influence elections. It gave corporations an instruction manual on how to scam their consumers out of a few dollars at a time. It slashed workers’ rights. It told women they shouldn’t be trusted to make health decisions they may later “come to regret.” And it came within one vote of tossing out the entire Affordable Care Act despite no basis in the Constitution’s text or precedent for doing so. The Media Matters report suggests that this effort to reshape the law into a Tea Party fantasy is not going unnoticed by progressives in the media, even if it is receiving far less attention on other television outlets.
To learn more about how President Obama could reverse the conservative justices’ crusade in his second term, or how Mitt Romney’s potential appointees could intensify this crusade, read this Center for American Progress Action Fund report.