WATCH: Media Melt Down After Liberal Supreme Court Justices Rule for Trump

March 6, 2024

Mainstream media have long fawned over the liberal Supreme Court justices. But this week, the justices put the law before the resistance to former president Donald Trump, and suddenly they were no better than the rest of the Court.

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously sided with Trump in his challenge to Colorado's attempt to kick him off the 2024 GOP primary ballot. The Court's three liberals, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ketanji Brown Jackson, joined their conservative colleagues in the 9-0 ruling that a state cannot bar Trump from running for another term.

Reporters and pundits—once again making everything about Trump—abandoned their previous reverence for the trio to attack the Court as a tool of the MAGA movement.

FLASHBACK: For years, the media have held up the Supreme Court's liberal justices as righteous women trailblazers who might just save the institution.

"In Her First Term, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson 'Came to Play,'" New York Times, July 7, 2023:

From her first week on the Supreme Court bench in October to the final day of the term that ended last week, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson did something remarkable for a junior justice: She established herself as a distinctive voice on the court.

"Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's Bold Debut and Independent Streak," Washington Post, July 2, 2023:

Jackson on Friday completed her rookie term as the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court, making a forceful debut from the bench and in writing while showing signs of an independent streak.

"The Many Joys of Ketanji Brown Jackson's Historic Confirmation," CNN, April 7, 2022:

What follows are reflections from a diverse group of Americans who also feel joy in this historic moment. These stories make clear that Jackson is a bottomless source of inspiration to so many, from a former classmate who's been in awe of the judge since the two met in a seventh-grade civics class, to a hairdresser who understands that Jackson breaks the mold in sometimes overlooked ways.

"All-Female Liberal Wing To Change Supreme Court Dynamics," Bloomberg Law, Feb. 1, 2022:

Adding the court's first Black woman to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer, as Biden has said he intends to do, could prompt conservative justices to adjust how they approach cases involving race and gender.

"Opinion: The Truth Teller of the Supreme Court," New York Times, June 17, 2021:

Clearly, after 12 years on the court, Justice Sotomayor has entered cultural icon territory, reminiscent of the status Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg achieved before her death last September. But I want to emphasize another, perhaps underappreciated source of Justice Sotomayor's distinction. She has become the Supreme Court's truth teller.

"Is the Supreme Court's Fate in Elena Kagan's Hands?" New Yorker, Nov. 11, 2019:

Yet Kagan, who has long been admired by legal scholars for the brilliance of her opinion writing and the incisiveness of her questioning in oral arguments, is emerging as one of the most influential Justices on the court—and, without question, the most influential of the liberals.

"'The People's Justice': After Decade on Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor Is Most Outspoken on Bench and Off," USA Today, Aug. 8, 2019:

After 10 years on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor, 65, is not only its most outspoken questioner–succeeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who inspired today's "hot bench"–but its most frequent public speaker and most prolific author. Her voice, in all its forms, has become the liberal conscience on a conservative court, one that speaks out in defense of minorities, immigrants, criminal defendants and death row inmates.

FLASH-FORWARD: Some journalists sought to downplay the liberal justices' concurrence with the majority opinion—playing up relatively minor disagreements.

"Opinion: What's Behind the Supreme Court's Furious Agreement on Trump in Colorado," Washington Post, March 4:

Those quotations, which bookend the concurring opinion released on Monday by three liberal justices on whether former president Donald Trump can be removed from the ballot in Colorado, amount to the judicial equivalent of fighting words. They constitute a two-part slap across the face of their supposedly conservative colleagues, accusing them of outrageous judicial activism in shielding Trump from being disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

"The Key Disagreement in the Liberal Justices' Concurrence on the Trump Ballot Ruling," HuffPost, March 4:

But while all nine justices put their names to that decision, a bitter 5-4 divide lurked underneath.

"The Supreme Court's 'Unanimous' Trump Ballot Ruling Is Actually a 5-4 Disaster," Slate, March 4:

As the three liberal justices pointed out, in a separate opinion that glows white-hot with indignation, the majority's overreach "attempts to insulate all alleged insurrectionists from future challenges to their holding federal office." They are, of course, correct.

But many others made little distinction between the justices, suggesting they were all guilty of meddling in the election on behalf of Trump. A few even singled out the liberals for scorn.

"The Court's Colorado Decision Wasn't About the Law," The Atlantic, March 5:

What the Court did—and I'm referring to all nine justices here, including the ones who wrote concurrences—was make up a holding utterly unmoored from the text or history of the provision it was interpreting, Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. …

The Court's decision wasn't about law. It was about fear.

"Stephen Colbert Scoffs at Supreme Court's Ruling on Trump," New York Times, March 5:

Stephen Colbert said the justices were "once again shoving their gavels up the election."

"US Supreme Court 'Erred Badly' With Trump Ruling, Leading US Historian Says," The Guardian, March 5:

[University of Connecticut professor Manisha] Sinha said: "It seems to me that [the court] fast track[s] all the decisions in all the cases that let Trump off the hook and they're slow-pedaling all the decisions that don't let Trump off the hook.

"This is primary season and I think it's going to have an effect politically. Trump is going to seal the deal" with the Colorado decision.

"Opinion: SCOTUS Found Its 14A Loophole for Trump. Congress Will Follow Suit," MSNBC, March 5:

It's a ruling that will likely live in infamy as one that under the aegis of consensus paved the way for countless more violations of the Constitution.

"The Institutions of Government Aren't Going To Protect Democracy," Washington Post, March 4:

The superficial agreement on the decision erodes in the details, which isn't uncommon. The result, though, is that the institution of the Supreme Court has decided that the institution of Congress is the only element of the American system that can apply the 14th Amendment to a candidate. And Congress, very obviously, won't do so for Trump.

"Keith Olbermann Rips Supreme Court, Calls Liberal Justices 'Inept,'" The Hill, March 4:

"The Supreme Court has betrayed democracy. Its members including Jackson, Kagan and Sotomayor have proved themselves inept at reading comprehension," [Keith Olbermann] said, referring to Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

"The Supreme Court Once Again Reveals the Fraud of Originalism," The Atlantic, March 4:

This case reveals originalism as practiced by the justices for the fraud it actually is: a framework for justifying the results that the jurists handpicked by the conservative legal movement wish to reach. Americans should keep that in mind the next time the justices invoke originalism to impose their austere, selective vision of liberty on a public they insist must remain gratefully silent.

"Opinion: How the Supreme Court Got Things So Wrong on Trump Ruling," CNN, March 4:

Of course, the Supreme Court has a sorry history of political meddling even as it has sought to wrap around itself the robes of impartial jurisprudence. From the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which sought to outlaw the platform of the newly formed antislavery Republican Party and declare African Americans non-citizens, to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which facilitated racial apartheid in the South, the Supreme Court has played an especially abysmal role in undermining democratic governance and equal justice for Black Americans in the 19th century.

It's not the first time the media have turned on a liberal hero who failed to put the law aside to go after Trump.