Linda Greenhouse's Latest Conflict

The Supreme Court reporter's husband is participating in cases that she's covering (from the liberal side), but she is covering the cases without making any disclosure to her readers.

Another Linda Greenhouse conflict?

Ed Whelan, who writes the "Bench Memos" blog at National Review Online, unearthed the Supreme Court reporter's latest controversial tie.

This controversy doesn't involve Greenhouse's own liberal advocacy - she marched at an abortion rights rally in 1989 and made a liberal rant at a college commencement address last year - but the lawyering of her husband, Eugene Fidell, head of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Fidell was involved in the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld case in 2006, named after the Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo who challenged the Bush administration's plan to try detainees before military commissions. The administration suffered a 5-3 defeat at the Supreme Court, to Greenhouse's obvious glee. She didn't disclose her husband's ties to the case.

Whelan first sent his concerns to Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt a month ago but got no joy, as Hoyt fobbed him off:

"Today, more than one month after I informed Mr. Clark Hoyt, the New York Times 's public editor (or ombudsman), of Linda Greenhouse's conflict of interest in reporting on Supreme Court cases in which her husband has participated, I received an initial response from Mr. Hoyt.In service to the value of transparency that the New York Times advocates - at least for others - I copy here the text of Mr. Hoyt's e-mail response (emphasis added):

'Thank you for writing. I am aware of your blog post and am looking into the issue.Linda Greenhouse tells me, categorically, that her husband, Eugene Fidell, has never represented any detainee, is not involved as a lawyer in the case about which you wrote and did not file a brief in that case. I'd appreciate it if you could steer me to the brief you said he filed.'

Whelan sent Hoyt follow-up links eviscerating Greenhouse's evasion on behalf of her husband, and explained their significance:

"When Greenhouse tells Hoyt 'categorically' that Fidell 'has never represented any detainee,' she is making an irrelevant evasion. By representing amici in support of detainees in both the Hamdan and Boumediene cases (the former in the Supreme Court, the latter in the D.C. Circuit stage), Fidell was actively participating in the same cases that Greenhouse was reporting on.Moreover, the fact that the National Institute of Military Justice - the entity that Fidell heads - has filed an amicus brief in support of detainees in the Supreme Court in the Boumediene case independently raises a conflict of interest for Greenhouse, as does Fidell's separate status as signatory of a statement submitted by amicus Constitution Project."

Whelan concluded with some friendly (?)advice to Greenhouse.

"It's well past time for you to come clean. Remember, it's always the coverup that kills you."