Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lawyer Recounts Legal History, Ballas Misrepresents

MRC Watch Dept. - Tuesday as part of MSNBC's coverage of the current Supreme Court case on gay marriage, NewsNation host Tamron Hall interviewed Josh Schiller, a lawyer who had worked on challenges to bans on same-sex marriage in Virginia and California. Over at Newsbusters, Bryan Ballasoffered up an absolutely ludicrous misrepresentation of the entire affair:
“Throwing objectivity out the window, Hall framed the marriage debate in the most loaded way possible. ‘Josh, back to the legal aspect of it, again, the heart of this is whether a voter or voters should decide someone else’s right.’ Based on that principle, it’s also unjust that the government impairs the right to polygamy, incest, and marriage to a minor.”
One could also say that, based on that principle, it’s unjust whenever the government impairs the freedom of speech, but putting it that way doesn't allow MRC hacks to compare adults in consensual relationships to fellows who molest their children.

Hall’s question, Ballas says, “pales in comparison to Schiller’s response,” which, he asserted, compared the gay plaintiffs in the case to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. To prove it, he quotes Schiller (all bolding his):
“‘That’s exactly right. And the Supreme Court looks at this in a series of cases that date back over 60 years, starting with the internment of Japanese during the World War II.And it looks at these laws that target a minority group, and there are briefs, like the Justice Department’s briefs, arguing that people who are identified as gay or lesbian are targeted as a minority group in this country and should be protected based on that status.'”
Ballas fumes:
“An objective reporter might have reacted to this interpretation with ‘How are you comparing gays to rounding up Japanese Americans and holding them in internment camps?’ But this is MSNBC, where the activist anchors enable leftist guests and refuse to challenge them when they launch loaded oppression analogies.”
The attentive — a group among whom one may say, if one is feeling charitable, Ballas is not included — will already see Ballas’s error. The series of rulings that form the precedents in play in the current matter before the court stretch back to the internment case. This is not only an historical fact, it’s also critical knowledge for anyone who wishes to have any understanding of the current case. Pointing out this history isnot some argument that the treatment of homosexuals is the same as those who were kidnapped by the government and thrown in concentration camps.

What Ballas opted to conceal from his readers — because quoting it would even more clearly destroy the premise of his article — is what Schiller’s had said prior to the part he quoted:
“…the government — the administration — is going to argue for the Supreme Court to apply what’s called a ‘strict scrutiny’ test in overturning these bans. If the court accepts that argument, they can’t uphold the law. Every decision that has considered ‘strict scrutiny’ requires a compelling government interest, and what we know here is that there is no government interest in upholding these bans.”
The first such case in which the court applied the “strict scrutiny” standard: Korematsu v. United States (1944), which dealt with — wait for it — the Japanese internment.


[Note: This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog dedicated to a critique of the Media Research Center]

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