September 29, 2006

DOES ANYBODY EDIT USA TODAY?:

Term should indicate new justices' influence (Joan Biskupic, 9/28/06, USA TODAY)

The Supreme Court will begin its annual term Monday with a schedule that includes cases on abortion rights, school integration and global warming, topics that will test the impact of the court's two new conservative members.

Such disputes, and a slate of business cases, could offer significant clues on how Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will influence the law. Both have roots in Ronald Reagan's administration and were touted by President Bush as reliable conservatives.

Roberts replaced another conservative, the late William Rehnquist. Alito succeeded the retired Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate justice who was at the court's ideological center. As her views evolved over her quarter-century tenure, O'Connor became the key vote on a divided, nine-member court. By voting with the court's four liberals, she helped to ensure abortion rights and the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

That's why the new cases could be poignant signs of how the court has changed with Alito on the bench instead of O'Connor. Alito's record as a lower court judge suggests he would be less open to abortion and affirmative action than she was.


Even though no one expects journalist to be anything but liberal hacks these days, it's still bad form to allow that "poignant" to slip in there and give away the game.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2006 7:54 AM
Comments

Well, at least she used the passive modifier "poignant" as opposed to more agressive options like "scary", ""dangerous", "republic-threatening"....

Posted by: John at September 29, 2006 9:32 AM

She could have gone erudite and used either "elegiac" or "atavistic". But we would have spotted them, too.

Posted by: ratbert at September 29, 2006 10:15 AM

Perhaps her editor did change the word...

Editor: "Joan, you can't use the word caustic in this piece."
Joan: "How about odorous?"
Editor: "No."
Joan: "How about pungent?"
Editor: "No. How about poignant?"
Joan: "Oh, okay."

Posted by: Dave W at September 29, 2006 12:13 PM

In the old days, students in Journalism 101 were told to write an article reporting a news item and when they completed their assignment, were told to go back and remove all the adjectives. How quaint that all seems now.

Posted by: erp at September 29, 2006 1:59 PM
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