For more than a year this column has been campaigning for the National Football League team representing our nation’s capital to be renamed the Washington Bader Ginsburgs, in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Now the revelation of comments Ginsburg once made to television anchor Katie Couric—and Ms. Couric’s decision to delay publication for years—raises new questions about the renaming campaign and its prospects.
Daniel Bates reports for the Daily Mail:
Katie Couric has admitted to ‘protecting’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg from public backlash by cutting out negative comments she made about people who kneel during the national anthem…
The published story, which Couric wrote for Yahoo! News in 2016, did include quotes from Ginsburg saying refusing to stand for the anthem was ‘dumb and disrespectful’, but omitted more problematic remarks.
Here’s an excerpt from the 2016 Yahoo story:
When asked by Couric how she feels about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and others athletes, refusing to stand for the anthem, Ginsburg replied, “I think it’s really dumb of them.”
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg elaborated. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
Couric then asked, “But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?”
“Yes,” said Ginsburg. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
What were the “more problematic” remarks that didn’t make it into the 2016 Yahoo report? The Daily Mail’s Mr. Bates writes this week:
Ginsburg went on to say that such protests show a ‘contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.’
She said: ‘Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from…as they became older they realize that this was youthful folly. And that’s why education is important.’
In 2016 Ms. Couric decided not to disclose how far Ginsburg was deviating from the established media narrative. Mr. Bates writes now:
According to Couric, she ‘wanted to protect’ Ginsburg and felt that the issue of racial justice was a ‘blind spot’ for her.
Yet to “protect” Ms. Ginsburg from having her views known, it seems that Ms. Couric had to ignore good advice from a former ABC executive and embrace the tortured logic of a pal at the New York Times. According to the Daily Mail account:
Couric called a friend, David Brooks, a New York Times journalist, who advised her that Ginsburg probably didn’t understand the question, even though she was still serving on the Supreme Court at the time.
However David Westin, the former head of ABC News, advised Couric to keep it in.
‘She’s on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks,’ he said, according to Couric.
Did Mr. Brooks and Ms. Couric really believe that Ginsburg was unable to fully navigate a Couric interview yet competent to decide the nation’s most important constitutional cases?
Not everyone is going to embrace the politically incorrect way that Ginsburg extolled the virtues of living in America, just as not everyone endorsed her activist jurisprudence. But she was an independent thinker with guts. In a town of political and media conformists, the Washington Bader Ginsburgs could represent a refreshing change.
In August this column wrote about the fearful
Dr. Rochelle Walensky,
director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and her unlawful effort to maintain a nationwide eviction moratorium in the name of public health:
Until the Supreme Court slaps down this latest assault on the property rights of landlords, Dr. Walensky’s order asserts that Americans who violate her directive may be subject to criminal penalties including up to a year in jail. Imprisoning people on such dubious grounds is bound to give Americans a sense of impending doom about due process. And for the record, the alleged emergency is a sham, and not just because daily Covid deaths are fortunately far below their levels of early January.
The American consumer is not in crisis. Someday the fiscal and monetary excesses of this era will be borne by America’s children. But for now, the vast government assistance programs have left U.S. households brimming with cash.
A few weeks later, the Supreme Court did indeed reject the full Walensky and today the Journal’s Will Parker reports:
When the federal moratorium on evictions ended in August, many feared that hundreds of thousands of tenants would soon be out on the streets. More than six weeks later, that hasn’t happened.
Instead, a more modest uptick in evictions reflects how renter protections at the city and state levels still remain in parts of the country, housing attorneys and advocates said. Landlords, meanwhile, say the risk of an eviction epidemic was always overstated and that most building owners have been willing to work with cash-strapped tenants.
Both groups also think that federal rental assistance, slow to get off the ground earlier this year, is now helping prevent many new eviction filings.
Eviction filings in court—which are how landlords begin the process of removing tenants from their homes—were up 8.7% in September from August, according to the Eviction Lab, a research initiative at Princeton University that tracks filings in more than 30 cities. But the rate is still low on a historic basis, and, at 36,796 filings, it is roughly half the average September rate pre-pandemic.
“It’s Okay for Docs to Refuse to Treat Unvaccinated Patients,” Medscape, Oct. 13
Annals of Organized Labor
Jeong Park reports for the Sacramento Bee:
The executive director of California’s largest labor union resigned after the attorney general’s office this month charged her and her husband with multiple counts of tax fraud, embezzlement, perjury and failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes.
The office filed its charges against SEIU California Executive Director Alma Hernández and her husband, Jose Moscoso, on Oct. 4 in the Sacramento County Superior Court.
Hernández, whose union represents over 700,000 workers across the state, had been in her position since 2016. She led the union’s push against recalling
Gov. Gavin Newsom,
with the organization donating more than $6 million to the campaign.
James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”
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