Matthew Kacsmaryk — sole federal judge in the Amarillo division of the Northern District of Texas and recently responsible for invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion drug mifepristone — is “the worst federal judge in America,” recently declared Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who covers the Supreme Court. Kacsmaryk is worthy of the moniker, opines Marcus, “not simply for the poor quality of his judicial reasoning,” but for “the loaded content of his rhetoric,” which is not impartial, but that of a “zealot.”
Marcus’ charge is rhetorical bombast at its worst, but on what does she base it? Her own ideological zealotry and blatant bias, ironically enough.
Addressing the Accusations
“My beef is with ideologues in robes,” declares Marcus, pointing to the fact that Kacsmaryk “served as deputy general counsel at the conservative First Liberty Institute” and “argued against same-sex marriage, civil rights protections for gay and transgender individuals, the contraceptive mandate and, of course, Roe v. Wade.” Then again, there are plenty of liberal activists serving on the court, as well: U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, for example, is a well-known abortion advocate, earlier this year speciously speculating from the bench that the Constitution might confer a right to abortion. And prior to being selected for the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had a consistent record of taking pro-choice positions. But, their stances on abortion are the “right” ones, so presumably Marcus has no problem with their bias.
Marcus also takes umbrage with the fact that Kacsmaryk used the word “unborn human” and “unborn child” to refer to the life in the mother’s womb, because, the judge noted, those phrases are “inclusive of the multiple gestational stages relevant to the FDA Approval.” Protests Marcus: “Unborn human and unborn child are loaded terms.” Well, if the life in the womb isn’t human life, Ms. Marcus, what species of life is it? Dog? Cat? Rosa rubiginosa? As any scientist or doctor can tell you, all fertilized human eggs given the freedom to develop in the womb are, through either ultrasound or birth, proved to indeed be of the human species. In all medical history, you’ll find nary a case that proved otherwise. The pro-choice tactic of referring to life in the womb as a fetus is simply a means of obscuring what the organism in the womb, scientifically speaking, is.
Finally, Marcus claims that Kacsmaryk’s legal reasoning is “irresponsible,” because he cites evidence regarding the negative effects of abortion on mothers from the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, which supports and promotes “scientific, statistical, and medical research” to educate policymakers, the media, and the general public. Yet Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in their dissent in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization cited research from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, and the liberal and pro-choice Kaiser Family Foundation. Guttmacher explicitly bills itself as “a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) worldwide.” Such research is far from the definition of unbiased, non-politicized scientific research.
Who Is the True Ideologue and Activist?
Marcus ends her screed with this final salvo: “This is a judge who knows what conclusion he wants to reach and is going to do what he must to get there — facts, fairness and law be damned.” Yet all Marcus’ accusations have done is prove she is the one guilty of playing loose with the facts and engaging in unfair, patently biased ad hominems against Kacsmaryk.
Of course, none of this should be surprising. Marcus is one of the most extreme opinion writers at The Washington Post, writing a 2018 op-ed provocatively titled: “I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. Women need that right.” She doubled down on that claim later the same month. Think about what that says about this woman: she is willing to look her two daughters in the eyes and tell them that if they had a serious genetic disorder, she’d rather they be dead.
I must confess, sadly, that I’m not surprised to see Marcus, who is on the editorial board for the WaPo, spew such unfounded, irresponsible accusations against Kacsmaryk. In February, the Post ran a long hit piece attempting to portray Kacsmaryk as a radical pro-life activist who cannot be trusted to act impartially from the bench. (As I noted in a previous Federalist article, that tendentious attempt fell embarrassingly flat.) One has come to expect such unprofessionalism from Marcus and her colleagues at the Post.
The Worst Journalist in America?
It’s tempting to return the favor to Marcus and accuse her of being the worst journalist in America. But the rogue’s gallery of today’s journalists, even just at The Washington Post, is quite impressive in its dreadfulness. Former neoconservative Jennifer Rubin writes the same piece every other day — so much so that a bot can pen pieces that read just as tedious and tiresome as her “work.” The writing of former neoconservative foreign policy “expert” Max Boot is comparably miserable, as is that of Greg Sargent, congressional pundit Dana Milbank, and the Post’s resident female grievance and racial grievance columnists Monica Hesse and Karen Attiah. All of them are about as predictable and uninteresting as they are insufferable.
Nor is the resident liberal staff at The Washington Post unique in this regard. American journalism, especially in the context of corporate, legacy media, is too rotten, compromised as it is by an extreme, noxious bias driven by what is often a not-so-veiled hatred for its political opponents. CNN anchors — supposedly operating as unbiased moderators — make little pretense of their pro-choice attitudes. Or how about the contemptible claim by Joy Behar of “The View” last year that the pro-life movement also aims to upend Brown v. Board of Education. A cursory scan of The New York Times’ reporting on abortion tells you all you need to know about what they will (and won’t) discuss.
In such a media landscape, it’s sad to admit, there’s not much wheat to separate from the chaff.