In another editorial disguised as a television review, David Zurawik disparages the current Supreme Court (“Frontline goes into the shadows to show how Supreme Court moved so far to the right,” May 15). Citing a like-minded program from self-proclaimed “public” television, Mr. Zurawik supports the view that the Supreme Court is highly politicized. He attributes the chief villain behind this development to be Sen. Mitch McConnell. He and public television gloss over the two individuals who have prime responsibility for this: Sens. Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Although well qualified by prior standards, Mr. Bork’s nomination did not sit well with left-wing groups such as People for the American Way. Led by Senator Kennedy, a smear campaign resulted in not only the defeat of Mr. Bork's nomination but the creation of a new word. Webster's defines "bork" as "to attack or defeat ...unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification.” Since then, several candidates, usually Republicans, have been similarly mistreated.
Mr. Zurawik refers to the angry, snarky Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his hearing. One wonders how the writer would react to questionable and, in some instances, utterly fraudulent claims of sexual misconduct. Senator Reid's contributions are more significant. He decided for the first time to filibuster judicial nominations to lower courts during George W. Bush's presidency. Of course, when the tables were turned, Barack Obama’s nominations received the same treatment. This led Mr. Reid to end the filibuster for these positions so he could pack the D.C. Circuit with President Obama’s appointments. Once again, when the tables were turned, Senator McConnell and company ended the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Thus, we have our current court.
Mr. Zurawik and PBS are entitled to their opinions. They are not entitled to their "alternative facts.” Our courts should be impartial and nonpolitical, interpreting our laws and constitution. That, hopefully, will happen, but it will be in spite of and not because of David Zurawik and public television.
Robert C. Erlandson, Lutherville
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