Thursday, August 24, 2006


Judicial Watch Smears Judge Who Ruled Warrantless Wiretapping Is Illegal, Media Takes The Bait

Last week, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional. Subsquently, Taylor was attacked by the conservative group Judicial Watch which claimed that she had a “conflict of interest” because she “serves as a Secretary and Trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”

Judicial Watch’s allegation has garnered extensive media coverage. It’s a bogus charge. Here are the facts:

– Over the last two years the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan has donated about $50 million to charitable causes. Its $45,000 in grants to the ACLU represents just .09% of their total giving.

– The money to the ACLU had nothing to do with their activities relating to this litigation or government surveillance. The grant funded “a gay rights project.”

– Judge Gibbs is one of 50 community members on the foundation’s board. It wasn’t a personal decision by Judge Gibbs.

None of this information was disclosed by Judicial Watch. Once you know the facts, there is not a “reasonable question about [her] impartiality” based on the foundation’s activities. That hasn’t stopped the media (or the blogosphere) from breathlessly reporting the “story.”

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