New York Times Repeatedly Makes False Claims About Supreme Court and Court Rulings

In The Atlantic, former ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer discusses the New York Times’ refusal to correct repeated falsehoods in its editorials about the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and its decision to repeat those false claims even after their falsity was pointed out by attorneys and a constitutional law professor. The Times has repeatedly insinuated that the Supreme Court overturned a 1907 federal law banning corporate contributions to political campaigns when it actually did no such thing.

The Citizens United ruling allowed corporations and unions to pay for their own political ads attacking politicians, but it did not allow them to make campaign donations to congressmen, or strike down the Tillman Act, a 1907 law barring such donations. The Times also falsely implied that the Supreme Court had struck down “disclosure requirements” for campaign donations.

Earlier, law professors wrote at The Volokh Conspiracy about the New York Times’ refusal to print a letter to the editor pointing out a mistake in a recent Times editorial about federal appeals court rulings dealing with business and arbitration of legal disputes. The law professors also argued that the Times persistently misstated whether it is permissible to detain enemy combatants.

I have previously written about the New York Times’ failure to correct repeated falsehoods it printed in its “news” coverage of the Supreme Court’s 2007 Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision, which you can find at this linkTimes reporters such as Linda Greenhouse made it sound like the plaintiff in that case, Lilly Ledbetter, had been arbitrarily prevented by the Supreme Court from suing despite only recently learning of the pay discrimination around the time she retired. Actually, as lawyers have repeatedly pointed out, Ledbetter knew by 1992, if not earlier, that she was being paid less than the male employees she claimed should have been paid the same as her. No wonder the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear dismissed her lawsuit as untimely.

As the National Journal’s Stuart Taylor noted, Ledbetter brought her discrimination claim only after the supervisor she accused of discrimination had died, and shortly before she retired, and she knew of the pay disparity she later complained about for at least five years before filing an EEOC complaint. Thus, she was unable to qualify for an extension of the 180-day deadline for suing based on lack of awareness of the pay disparity.

The New York Times editorials repeatedly makes false claims about court rulings to try to depict the Supreme Court as “pro-business.” But it is not in fact pro-business, as I previously explained here.

Indeed, the Supreme Court is more hostile to business than most of the lower federal courts, and is generally hostile to employers in discrimination cases.