Federal Judge confuses Constitution & Declaration of Independence

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on February 19, 2014

image1306In its politics blog, ABC News reported on Feb. 14:

A federal judge who struck down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage on February 13 inaccurately attributed a quote from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.

“Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us,” U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen wrote in her original opinion, issued late Thursday.

Though the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees “equal protection” under the law, the Constitution does not include the phrase “all men are created equal.” That would be the Declaration of Independence. …

..By mid-day Feb. 14, Allen issued a second draft [with the revised text]: “Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that ‘all men’ are created equal.”

In his Feb. 14 story for the New York Times, reporter Erick Eckholm wrote: “A federal judge on Thursday evening declared that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, in the strongest legal reversal yet of restrictive marriage amendments that exist throughout the South.”

The Times continued, ”’Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal,”’ wrote Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Norfolk. ‘Surely this means all of us.’”

The New York Times article did not correct the judge’s misquotation or explain from where the phrase “all men are created equal” originated.

In a report late on Feb. 13, NBC News reporter Miranda Leitsinger also quoted Judge Allen’s statement — “Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal” — without correction.