Newsflash!!! WaPo's Milbank Upset that Supreme Court Nominee uses legal jargon. Developing....

Monday, January 16, 2006
Apparently lacking the capacity to write intelligently about the Alito hearings, WaPo's Dana Milbank opts instead for an attempt at cute. I, I, Sir: The Alito Hearings, Annotated asks a WaPo staffer, with nothing better to do, to do analyses on the text of the hearings. Ann Althouse descends upon poor Dana, who thinks that Alito used legal gobbledegook. Apparently, Milbank was too busy fixing his hair for an upcoming appearance on Washington Week in Review to be bothered googling the terms he didn't know. Why can't these Supreme Court nominees explain it in a way a simple reporter can understand?


Rick Ballard said...

"Why can't these Supreme Court nominees explain it in a way a simple reporter can understand?"

Woudln't it be rather unseemly for a prospective justice of the United States Supreme Court to have to carry around a roll of butcher paper, a '64' box of Crayolas and a hand puppet all the time? Couldn't the task be delegated to applicants for clerkships?

chuck said...

Dana is just doing his best to maintain journalistic standards of ignorance, and doing a fine job at that. His dedication to misinforming the public is truly inspiring and sets a fine example for aspiring journalists.

Syl said...

Well, I thought it was a silly piece. Not meant to be serious.

But why waste inches on something like that.

However I learned a lot by reading the Humphrey Executor (who the hell is that) opinion.

chuck said...


Ann deals with your point:

Stiles: I agree that Milbank's article is about what it's about. I even think it's funny to say ""Humphrey's Executor" (whoever he is)." I was on "Reliable Sources" with Milbank yesterday and was struck by how little interest he had in the law side of things. You're right that he's about the politics. Where I have a problem is at the point where the assertion is made that Alito was saying nothing or saying only "gobbledygook." Also, Milbank, who has the job of covering the hearings, like many of the other reporters with this important assignment, did not seem to take seriously the potential for thinking about the legal issues. He commented on the show yesterday that most of the reporters, if they didn't walk out of the room altogether, were doing things like playing computer solitaire or surfing the web. If they did the latter, I wonder if they encountered the bloggers who were acually simulblogging and following the issues -- unpaid.

Reporter don't take their job seriously and it shows.

Barry Dauphin said...

I don't think weak comedy is Milbank's job. That's why Jon Stewart gets paid a lot of money. If they want to print a ha ha piece, why Milbank, and why should we take him seriously? Actually his serious columns are much funnier than this.

terrye said...

Rick, that was just mean.

Hey I don't mind saying it: Alito is smarter than me. Maybe some of these reorters should do the same thing.

Can you imagine them second guessing surgical technique?

Knucklehead said...


It is informative (but rarely fun) to read SCOTUS opinions. The Humphrey's Executor opininion seems a sound one as far a my ignorance can determine, but I have to admit that this bit of Sutherland's reasoning flummoxed me:

The Federal Trade Commission is an administrative body created by Congress to carry into effect legislative policies embodied in the statute in accordance with the legislative standard therein prescribed, and to perform other specified duties as a legislative or as a judicial aid. Such a body cannot in any proper sense be characterized as an arm or an eye of the executive. Its duties are performed without executive leave and, in the contemplation of the statute, must be free from executive control. In administering the provisions of the statute in respect of 'unfair methods of competition,' that is to say, in filling in and administering the details embodied by that general standard, the commission acts in part quasi legislatively and in part quasi judicially.

Ummmm... isn't part of the role of the executive branch of our government to carry into effect legislative policies embodied in the statute in accordance with the legislative standard therein prescribed?

The executive branch, in its role of converting legislation into the rules and regulations we live by, and by the choices it makes in its investigative roles, performs quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial roles. The executive is the glue between the legislative and judicial branches.