Media

Judicial Watch Smears Judge Who Ruled Warrantless Wiretapping Is Illegal, Media Takes The Bait

CREDIT:

Last week, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional. Subsquently, Taylor was attacked by the conservative group Judicial Watch which claimed that she had a “conflict of interest” because she “serves as a Secretary and Trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”

Judicial Watch’s allegation has garnered extensive media coverage. It’s a bogus charge. Here are the facts:

– Over the last two years the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan has donated about $50 million to charitable causes. Its $45,000 in grants to the ACLU represents just .09% of their total giving.

— The money to the ACLU had nothing to do with their activities relating to this litigation or government surveillance. The grant funded “a gay rights project.”

— Judge Taylor is one of 50 community members on the foundation’s board. It wasn’t a personal decision by Judge Taylor.

None of this information was disclosed by Judicial Watch. Once you know the facts, there is not a “reasonable question about [her] impartiality” based on the foundation’s activities. That hasn’t stopped the media (or the blogosphere) from breathlessly reporting the “story.”