ABC’s Terry Moran Hails ‘Pragmatic Liberal’ Breyer’s ‘Moderate Tone’

During ABC’s Wednesday breaking news coverage that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer plans to retire, senior national correspondent Terry Moran reacted to the news by hailing Breyer’s “moderate tone” and downplaying his liberal ideology and portraying him as a “pragmatic liberal.” Moran argued that Breyer relied more on political rather than legal arguments in his opinions.

Anchor Kyra Phillips got the special-report coverage going by introducing Moran and also minimizing Breyer’s ideology: “Breyer is the oldest justice on the conservative 6-3 court and the most senior member of its liberal wing. We’d like to bring in, with bringing in our senior national correspondent Terry Moran. Terry, definitely known as the court’s most famous pragmatist.”

Moran concurred. “That’s a great way of putting it, Kyra. He, is in an era of surging ideological attitudes on the Court and a sharply divided Court, left and right, Stephen Breyer’s always tried to strike a more moderate tone. He, in both in oral arguments and in his opinions mostly he tried to bridge the gap there. He was a liberal, no question about it, but a pragmatic liberal.”

Like John Roberts doesn’t look like a “pragmatist” trying to “bridge the gap there”?

Describing what sounds more like a politician than a justice, Moran heaped more praise on Breyer, sounding just like Breyer’s former clerks: “He was less concerned, even though he had been a university professor and had a very professorial demeanor in court, he really did focus on, on what impact things might have had on ordinary people.” 

After highlighting the fact that liberals have been pushing Breyer to retire so he can be replaced before Republicans possibly retake the Senate, Moran still pleaded ignorance for why Breyer is choosing to retire now, “He’s in good health. He’s been working full time and an active participant in the arguments in these big cases but he has decided for whatever reason, he hasn’t made that clear at this point to retire now and it’s a big opportunity for President Biden to restore some, perhaps, stronger liberal voice on the Court.”

It appears Moran answered his own question. Maybe he was more of a liberal ideologue than ABC and the rest of the media are portraying.

There were no commercials during this breaking news coverage.

Here is a transcript for the January 26 coverage:

ABC ABC News Special Report

1/26/2022

12:22 PM ET

KYRA PHILLIPS: Hello everyone. I’m Kyra Philips here on ABC News with a special report. We are getting word, and are able to confirm now that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is hanging up his robe and retiring after serving for 28 years on the Supreme Court, 83-years old. Breyer is the oldest justice on the conservative 6-3 court and the most senior member of its liberal wing. We’d like to bring in, with bringing in our senior national correspondent Terry Moran. Terry, definitely known as the court’s most famous pragmatist. 

TERRY MORAN: That’s a great way of putting it, Kyra. He, is in an era of surging ideological attitudes on the Court and a sharply divided Court, left and right, Stephen Breyers always tried to strike a more moderate tone. He, in both in oral arguments and in his opinions mostly he tried to bridge the gap there. He was a liberal, no question about it, but a pragmatic liberal. He always seemed to focus on the impact that cases had on the real lives of real people. He was less concerned, even though he had been a university professor and had a very professorial demeanor in court, he really did focus on, on what impact things might have had on ordinary people. 

This is no surprise. It will gladden the heart of liberals across the country who have been openly pressuring Stephen Breyer to retire given the possibility that Republicans will take the Senate and once again dominate selections on the Court. Breyer said last year “if the public sees judges as politicians in robes, it’s confidence in the Court can only diminish,” which bothered a lot of liberals because they thought he was pushing back on their efforts to persuade him that now is the time to retire. He’s in good health. He’s been working full time and an active participant in the arguments in these big cases but he has decided for whatever reason, he hasn’t made that clear at this point to retire now and it’s a big opportunity for President Biden to restore some, perhaps, stronger liberal voice on the Court.

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