The Press and the Rights Culture

This headline from Fox News on last week’s arguments in Carson v. Makin—the Supreme Court case deciding whether parochial schools can be excluded from a state program that provides tuition for other private schools—illustrates a problem with the way the media covers rights cases. The headline reads: “Justices offer support for religious rights in Maine education case.” The case for religious rights in Carson v. Makin is reasonable, perhaps strong. But whether religious rights are being violated in the first place is the whole question. The headline’s assertion of ”religious rights” presumes what is actually in dispute. Fox News is … Continue reading The Press and the Rights Culture

Roe and Public Opinion

The Washington Post published a poll this morning showing that a significant majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade and do not think the Supreme Court should overturn it. That says something about the intrinsic tensions of rights talk at the Court. If broad majorities support access to abortion, there is no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene. Those majorities would be reflected in legislation. The truth, of course, is more complicated: Public opinion varies notably by state. More important, the stark choices the poll offers–which distill to whether abortion should be legal or illegal–do not pick up the … Continue reading Roe and Public Opinion