If a conservative writer were married to someone who worked in a nonpartisan position within, say, a White House office or a Supreme Court office or even the Architect of the Capitol’s office and the conservative writer were taking deeply critical, partisan shots at the President, Architect of the Capitol, or a Supreme Court Justice, the media would have a field day.
Let’s not forget the media went wall to wall driving a girl from her job on Capitol Hill for daring to go onto her personal Facebook page and criticize Barack Obama’s daughters at a public event. Do you really think the media would not attack if a conservative blogger or journalist were taking regular shots at Supreme Court Justices and was married to someone who worked for the Court?
I mention this because I think it does amount to a potential conflict of interest and a real target of media ire if it was a conservative doing that. But in this case, it is the deeply partisan Supreme Court writer for Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, who is married to a staff assistant in Public Information Office of the United States Supreme Court (married by Justice Ginsberg no less).
Stern has, in the past, accused Justices Thomas and Gorsuch of declaring “war on civil rights”; he has claimed Gorsuch made false accusations in an opinion; and called Kavanaugh’s opening statement in his confirmation hearing “thoroughly partisan and utterly disgraceful.” Just the other day he hysterically claimed the conservatives on the Court “just legalized torture.”
The media tends to give the media passes. This Washington Post story from 2013 notes just how incestuous the relationship was between the Obama Administration and the media, but even it notes that, for example, when Joe Biden’s press secretary was married to a Wall Street Journal report, that reporter was not allowed to write about Joe Biden. Likewise, ABC would not let Claire Shipman cover politics once her husband, Jay Carney, became Joe Biden’s press secretary.
Mark Joseph Stern is a stridently partisan activist and it comes out in both his characterizations and mischaracterizations of conservative justices on the Supreme Court. If he were doing that as a conservative about liberal justices and was married to someone who worked in the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court, you know and I know the media would not look favorably upon it.
And if you don’t believe that, consider Mark Joseph Stern’s coverage of Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.