Now that Elena Kagan has been sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice, some of the media are musing over what we might expect over the next session or so. Interesting, how they’re framing the issues…

Like this LA Times piece.

The justices soon will be called upon to decide whether states like Arizona can enforce immigration laws, whether same-sex couples have a right to marry and whether Americans can be required to buy health insurance. Kagan’s record strongly suggests she will vote in favor of federal regulation of immigration and health insurance and vote to oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians.

This is cloudy terminology.

Arizona passed a law that applied (and therefore favored) federal regulation of immigration. But it’s been distorted in the reporting.

Federal regulation of health insurance is a broad phrase, but what the court will no doubt face is the challenge by the states to the federal mandate to purchase health insurance, which they claim is unconstitutional.

And the suggestion that Kagan will likely “oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians” is also purposely nebulous. People of goodwill tend to oppose discrimination against other people. Let’s talk, instead, about laws and social policies regulating what people do. We’ll be doing plenty of that come Fall, when the mid-term elections heat up and the Supreme Court opens its new session.

So here’s a request for big media: watch your language.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....