Washington Post publishes amid questions about its legitimacy

The Supreme Court’s abortion decision was leaked before being issued, apparently in an effort by the liberal wing of the Court or their clerks to pressure the majority to reverse themselves. The Chief Justice in a rare press release condemned the leak, as did other conservative justices (no liberal justice did) and promised an investigation by law enforcement.

That was five months ago. If the investigation concluded that it’s impossible to identify the leaker, we’re entitled to see the report. If the investigation did successfully identify the leaker, we’re entitled to know who it was.

But we’ve heard crickets. The Chief apparently decided it was more important to just move on than to bring the matter to light. The leak damaged the Court badly enough, he may have concluded, and he doesn’t want to damage it even more by identifying the leaker – something that would cry out for an impeachment of a Supreme Court Justice.

If my theory is correct that the Chief is protecting a liberal Justice of the Court (I doubt he would go to such lengths to protect a mere clerk of a liberal Justice) then a storied institution charged with administering justice at the highest level in the land is consciously shirking its duty to administer justice in its own institution – in the interest, ironically, of preserving its status as an institution of justice.

With this on my mind, a headline in the Washington Post last week caught my eye. In their news pages – not their opinion pages – a story appeared under the headline “Supreme Court term begins amid questions about its legitimacy.”

Ah, I thought, WaPo is exploring this same story that is on my mind – that the Court is covering up the identity of the leaker to avoid a bloody judicial impeachment and Constitutional crisis.

I was wrong. The “legitimacy” issue in the WaPo story was that the Supreme Court had ruffled liberal feathers lately with decisions they don’t like. For example, the Court stated that abortion is not in the Constitution and therefore is not a matter for judges to decide, and that the power of administrative agencies is limited to what Congress delegated to the agency.

Democrats don’t like these decisions, both because they don’t like the particular results and because, more broadly, they don’t like shifting power back to the people. Democrats favor policies that are to the left of the people. They can’t enact such policies democratically because they would get voted out of office, and so they let unelected judges and administrative agency bureaucrats do their dirty work.

Leave it to the Democrats to charge that judges risk their legitimacy not by seizing judicial power, but by relinquishing it to the people and the people’s elected representatives.  

Put this in historical perspective. For two generations, up until a few years ago, the Court was issuing decisions that I didn’t like. For that, however, I never questioned whether the Court was legitimate. I simply questioned whether its decisions were correct.

That’s an important distinction. An incorrect decision still needs to be followed. An illegitimate decision, by implication, need not be. Roe v. Wade was an incorrect decision as a matter of Constitutional law, but conservatives never argued that it cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. They simply argued that it was incorrect, and so should be overturned. In the meantime, it was the criticized but undisputed law of the land.

The left plays by a different set of rules. People who disagree with them are not merely incorrect; they’re deemed illegitimate. If such people are students, they get booted out of school; if they’re parents at school board meetings, they get arrested and investigated by the FBI; if they’re professors, they get fired even if they’re tenured; if they’re opinion columnists like me, they get censored; if they’re speakers, they get shouted down; if they’re politicians, they get name-called “racists,” “deplorables,” and “semi-fascists.”

Nutjobs in the radical left hear these things and conclude, apparently as they are supposed to, that conservatives should be hunted down and eliminated – physically if necessary. Political violence is escalating. Most of it is against conservatives, and it’s rare to hear the left – or even mainstream Democrats – condemn it.

If the persons with whom the left disagrees happen to be Supreme Court Justices, their legitimacy, too, gets questioned – after their homes get marched upon and one of them is the target of an assassination attempt. 

As bad as physical violence and threats are, the deliberate undermining of the authority of the Supreme Court is worse. We are careening over the guardrails and into the day when the left simply announces – in the guise of news stories in prestige newspapers and not just opinion pieces – something like “People question whether Supreme Court rulings should be followed.”

The editors and reporters at WaPo have crossed a line. The line they’ve crossed is not expressing an opinion with which I disagree. They have a right to their opinions, and I’ll fight to preserve their right to express them – even though they conspicuously don’t fight to preserve my right to express mine and in fact do whatever they can to censor mine.

Where WaPo starts to cross the line is where they express their opinion not in their opinion pages where opinions belong, but in their news pages.

And then WaPo gets way over the line with the substance of their opinion-in-the-guise-of-news. The substance of their opinion, expressed as news, is that the Supreme Court is illegitimate simply because the Court is issuing decisions that WaPo doesn’t like.

So, remind me: Who’s the threat to democracy?

Glenn K. Beaton practiced law in the federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

30 thoughts on “Washington Post publishes amid questions about its legitimacy

  1. Typo here:

    “ Where WaPo starts to cross the line is where they express their opinion not on their news pages where opinions belong, but in their news pages.”

    I assume you mean that opinions belong on editorial pages?

  2. Glenn- good article.

    What about the possibility that Roberts knows the leaker and his/her association with (more than likely) one of the Democrat SC justices? Would that then be a method of “leverage” to induce the liberal Justices to demonstrate more fealty to the Constitution?

  3. Dear Glenn,

    It is pretty uncomplicated what is going on, I’m sure you know that. I was reading in the Old Testament book of Job, Chapter 12 talks of the Sovereignty of God and His influence/direction of the “wise in their own eyes”. Thanks for your continued voice of wisdom instead of the flood of babblers.


    Bob Cross

  4. The Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times should no longer be regarded as news sources. They are propaganda outlets.

    Even worse than the Post’s statement is having the president’s press secretary say that the Dobbs decision was illegitimate.

    • Indeed. She said that the Supreme Court’s decision was “unConstitutional.” So here we have a Press Secretary to the President(ish) of the United States who apparently does not understand that it’s the Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution.

      Now, the Court’s decision could be wrong (though I firmly believe it wasn’t, and I’m in the good company of Constitutional scholars on both the right and the left, including the late Justice Ginsburg) but to say it’s “unConstitutional” is gibberish.

      Can you imagine what Vladimir Putin thinks when he sees and hears the President and his top aides? I don’t believe he thinks, “Gee, they’re very diverse, and that’s a strength … I’d better back off.”

      • “… who apparently does not understand that it’s the Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution.”

        Wasn’t it Jefferson or some peer of his who said that it was the responsibility of **everyone** in government to understand (hence “interpret”) the Constitution and follow it? And didn’t Lincoln say something along the same lines about too much deference to that “eminent tribunal” (the Supremes)?

        Ah, yes: “the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government […] is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court,” then “the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

        Seems to me that the Court itself has damaged its legitimacy through rulings like that in the first WonderBoyCare case (NFIB v. Sebelius), plus Kagan chirping about “a boatload of federal money” during the oral arguments for that case.

        A just-decided election-laws case here in Montana …


        .. is a terrific example of why my default attitude toward judges is no longer respect.

        Indeed, I’m reminded of the opening sentence from a 1997 article …


        … by Thomas Sowell: “THE ONLY TIME I have left a court room with more respect for the law than I had going in was in a court in Hong Kong, when it was under British colonial rule.”

      • I dunno. If Putin were to encounter Rachel Levine, shirtless (and braless) on horseback, I think he’d “back off” at a gallop.

  5. Illegitimate, huh? If the word means “not authorized by the law,” here’s what is illegitimate: (1) the executive branch’s complete disregard for existing immigration laws and for the Fourth Amendment requirement to defend the nation from invasion; (2) the physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment of children, which “gender affirming” chemical and surgical mutilation of children surely is; (3) changing the rules for how votes are cast and tabulated without the express authorization of a state’s legislature per that state’s own constitution; (4) authorizing and then mandating inadequately tested “vaccines” while absolving their manufacturers of all liability for the harms they have caused (Yes, I suppose this was all done “lawfully,” but in contradiction to prior laws and standards in such matters); (5) the capricious ability of the DOJ and FBI to overturn the principle of equal justice for all; and we could go on.

    Does the Washington Post have anything to say about these malpractices? Or can it only nullify a court whose justices have been selected by as “legitimate” a process as can be found anywhere?

  6. I don’t think the lefties much care about the decision as it’s all about dictating to the “great unwashed” which seems to be their motivating force above all. Can’t have the “peepul” decide for themselves, oh, no!

  7. Your problem, my dear Mr. Beaton is that you labor under the misconception that we are governed by disinterested patriots elected freely and fairly by their constituents, whose governance is held in check by a written constitution the provisions of which are immutable unless altered by amendment in accordance with the means so provided therein, and whose occasional deviation from proper constitutional bounds is corrected by impartial and omniscient legal sages put in place for that purpose. Once you disabuse yourself of that arcane notion, everything will become clear. Now relax and take your Soma. All is well. All is well.

    • There can be no question, good friends and admirers, of this Glenn Beaton column, that the substance of the post above, submitted by “Steve,” is joke. Or, now that I think about it a little more, maybe only a simple very pedantic, infantile, attempt to modern liberalist/leftieist/”progressive”/Democrat fool.
      Steve, just go home, go to bed, relax, ingest, or smoke, or however you some grass or whatever dope you take, take two aspirins and call us in the morning–or just now go over in the corner and have sex with yourself.
      Glad you asked. Anytime, just anytime.

  8. When there are leftist corporatist entities like the Amazon owned WaPo openly colluding with the leftist Democrat Party and its organs throughout the federal executive and legislative bureaucracy, by publishing its propaganda on its news pages, then what else can you call this but fascism?

    Goldberg’s 2007 “Liberal Fascism” noted on page 14:

    Again, it is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian – or “holistic,” if you prefer – in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend “nontraditional” beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a “Third Way” between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are “false choices.”

    This was some 15 years ago, and I think the American Left has now jettisoned nice for brutal, and has also jettisoned Nannying for bullying. When nicer tactics no longer work, then more Orwellian ones are certainly in order by these 21st century Jacobins. Hence, the speech codes, “canceling,” employees fired from jobs, social media shadow banning, suspensions and terminations.

    Meanwhile … the Chief Justice has created a legal wormhole, like a hall of mirrors, in his aloof effort to preserve SCOTUS’ status as an “institution of justice.”

    Same as it ever was … same as it ever was …

    Lost Wormhole

  9. What if Roberts is waiting till a Conservative President is elected and then launches the investigation that proves Justice (x) did it and they move to remove them. Cue 1 more Conservative on the court as replacement.
    I know, I know. I’m dreaming and we are supposed to be above that kind of thing; but conservatives nice guy/forgive routine is not working and we need to start using more effective methods.

  10. Until you know, you don’t know. For all we know, some friend of one of the clerks got hold of the opinion and decided to spread it around. Or, some employee who was not an attorney leaked it. Or, it could have been one of the justices. It may be one of those questions we will never know the answer to. Maybe the person in the media who received it doesn’t know exactly where it came from.

    It’s only cosmic if a justice was in on it.

  11. At 81, I am disgusted with where we Americans have taken out culture, society, and nation. There is nothing I can do about it beyond my single vote, and I soon will be leaving the chaos, but I firmly believe that whatever comes out on the other side of this so-called “reset” will be nothing like what the Left (and, modern-day Democrat Party) hope for and are working towards.

    Those who now feverishly work to destroy and remake who and what we were and some still are will be consumed by what arises from their destruction.

    As for the culture, society, and nation we once knew, it no longer exists… and maybe never existed as we were taught and as we thought. Whichever, the corner long has been turned and there is no return path. What once was is no more and what is to be will arrive in due time.

    Mankind as a whole and men as individuals cannot stop change and have limited control over its direction. Individuals at all levels are flawed, our institutions fragile, and each life finite. We live and we die by our decisions, individually, collectively, institutionally, and nationally.

    I lived and thrived during a wonderful period in a blessed nation. I wish the same for my grandchildren and great grandchildren and all those which follow.

  12. Who is a threat to democracy you ask? Anyone who votes for an election denier to hold a seat in Congress…that’s who! I will be sending a thank you note to the Supreme’s as this has brought abortion rights to the forefront and will have a huge impact on the outcome of the 2022 midterms. The Republicans loved using this as there talking point because they did not see the day when “Roe” be overturned. But guess what…the dog has caught the proverbial car and they don’t know what to do now! Take a look at what happened in Kansas, case in point as to what will happen in other RED States. So who or what is a threat to democracy – Election deniers who hold a seat in Congress and the minority of Republican’s in Congress with the loudest voice that continue to deny the results of our 2020 election, that’s who!

    • “Who is a threat to democracy you ask? Anyone who votes for an election denier to hold a seat in Congress… That’s who!”

      Which election denier are you referring to? Is it Al Gore in 2000 who tore the country apart by contesting an election for over a month and all the way to the Supreme Court — after he had already conceded it in a telephone call with George W. Bush?

      Or is it Hillary, who to this day says the 2016 election was stolen from her by “collusion” with the Russians, a claim that lies on the ash heap of history after being debunked by even a partisan Dem-led investigation?

      Or is it Stacey Abrams, who never did concede her 2018 loss in the Georgia governors race, on the grounds that there was “voter suppression”, a claim that she was unable to support and formally lost last week in a trial before an Obama-appointed black federal judge?

      As for your mention of the Dobbs case, it seems to me that the Supreme Court conservative majority expressly upheld democracy there. They said it’s not a matter for judges to decide but for people through their elected representatives to decide. If you’re right that the Republican representatives will overplay their hand, then democracy will show them the door. That’s not something to bemoan — it’s how democracy is supposed to work.

      • Gore conceded the election. One State and what was Bush’s margin of victory, who I voted for!

        Hillary conceded the election.

        #45 DID NOT! Is that good for democracy?

        Let’s compare ‘apples to apples’ and talk about former Presidents!


      • You’re mistaken in your belief that Trump did not concede. He did concede. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/07/trump-for-first-time-acknowledges-new-administration-will-take-office-jan-20.html

        Like Hillary and Stacey, he contends there was fraud that stole it from him, but he did concede. Stacey never did even that, to this day.

        I suppose that’s the reason you now say you want to talk only about former presidents — in order to leave Stacey and Hillary out of the discussion. And in any event, your opening comment referred to congressional candidates, not presidents. Seems that when you “compare apples to apples” as you put it, you do a lot of cherry picking.

      • Hillary did run for President and I did include her since she gave by what a majority of people call a legitimate concession speech. Here is the link to Hillary’s concession speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khK9fIgoNjQ.

        Gore, lost one state, Florida and lost by a margin of only 537 votes out of almost six million cast (0.009%) Here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq5YdkYSyEE.

        I am still looking for #45’s concession speech on YouTube. Would you please by so kind to send that to me? Thank you.

        While you’re at it, please present your case why anyone should vote for an “Election Denier” and why they deserve to hold a seat in Congress. Are election deniers in Congress good for democracy…I ask you?

      • Apples? Cherries? This is all so confusing!

        Mr. Brochstein should be reminded that the only possible basis for claiming that the Court is “illegitimate” is the contention — by election deniers — that Trump’s election in 2016 was illegitimate.

  13. “Someone” deleted my last reply posted a few hours ago! Where did it go, Glenn? Will gladly repost it as it was all within your ‘standards’ of posting comments.

  14. Wow … I can’t believe this news story about Boebert’s Democrat rival for Congress in Aspen.

    Extramarital affair in a storage locker. Blackmail. A compromised Democrat city councilman who sold out his vote and is now running for Congress. I suppose for Democrats nowadays these are not disqualifications for higher office but prerequisites!

    What’s your angle on this Glenn? You’re there in the vortex. This topic would make a great column … although I understand you are finishing a book.

    Anyways … a column by you Glenn would be timely and great. Thanks.

    See: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2022/10/13/exclusive-business-owner-admits-to-blackmailing-aspen-democrat-congressional-candidate-adam-frisch-with-surveillance-footage-and-alleged-storage-unit-affair/

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