Linda Greenhouse

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Linda Greenhouse
Linda Greenhouse, 2005.jpg
Greenhouse in San Francisco in 2005
Born Linda Joyce Greenhouse
(1947-01-09) January 9, 1947 (age 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.

Radcliffe College, (BA)

Yale Law School, (Master of Studies in Law)
Occupation Journalist
Known for Pulitzer Prize winner
Eugene R. Fidell (m. 1981)
Children Hannah Fidell

Linda Joyce Greenhouse (born January 9, 1947) is the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.[1] She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered the United States Supreme Court for nearly three decades for The New York Times.[2]

Early life[edit]

Greenhouse was born in New York City to H. Robert Greenhouse, a physician and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dorothy (née Greenlick). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Radcliffe College in 1968, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Master of Studies in Law[3] from Yale Law School in 1978.[4]

She married lawyer Eugene R. Fidell on January 1, 1981 in Washington, D.C., in a Jewish ceremony.[5] Together they have one daughter, filmmaker Hannah Margalit Fidell (born October 7, 1985).[6]


Greenhouse began her 40-year career at The New York Times covering state government in the paper's bureau in Albany.[2] After completing her master's degree on a Ford Foundation fellowship, she returned to the Times and covered 29 sessions of the Supreme Court from 1978 to 2007,[7] with the exception of two years during the mid-1980s during which she covered Congress.[4] Since 1981, she has authored over 2,800 articles for The New York Times.[8] She has been a regular guest on the PBS program Washington Week.[9]

In 2008, Greenhouse accepted an offer from The Times for an early retirement at the end of the Supreme Court session in the summer of 2008.[10][11] Seven of the nine sitting Justices attended a goodbye party for Greenhouse on June 12, 2008.[11] She continues to blog for The Times in the "Opinionator" section.[12]

In 2010, Greenhouse and co-author Reva Siegel put out a book on the development of the abortion debate prior to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on the subject: Before Roe v. Wade. This was largely a selection of primary documents, though with some commentary.

Greenhouse criticized US policies and actions at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and Haditha in a 2006 speech at Harvard University.[13] In it, Greenhouse said she started crying a few years back at a Simon & Garfunkel concert because her generation hadn't done a better job of running the country than previous generations.[14]

Awards and prizes[edit]

Greenhouse was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism (Beat Reporting) in 1998 "for her consistently illuminating coverage of the United States Supreme Court."[4] In 2004, she received the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism[15] and the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism.[16] She was a Radcliffe Institute Medal winner in 2006.[17]

When she was at Radcliffe, she said in a speech given in 2006, "I was the Harvard stringer for the Boston Herald, which regularly printed, and paid me for, my accounts of student unrest and other newsworthy events at Harvard. But when it came time during my senior year to look for a job in journalism, the Herald would not even give me an interview, and neither would the Boston Globe, because these newspapers had no interest in hiring women."[14]


Greenhouse has expressed her personal views as an outspoken advocate for abortion rights and critic of conservative religious values,[13] and a 2006 report on NPR questioned whether this compromised the appearance that she maintains journalistic neutrality on such matters. New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent said that he has never received a single complaint of bias in Greenhouse's coverage.[13]

Journalism conference, 2007[edit]

On August 9, 2007, a television crew from C-SPAN was forbidden to film a panel discussion at a meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Greenhouse had told organizers that she would not be able answer questions as fully and frankly if the session were filmed.[18] The vice president of programming at C-SPAN, Terence Murphy, questioned the decision: "If professors of journalism and working journalists taking part in a journalism education conference don't stand up for open media access to public policy discussions, who will?"[19]

Suggestions of conflict of interest, 2008[edit]

Ed Whelan, writing in a blog associated with National Review, suggested that Greenhouse had an obligation to her readers to inform them when reporting on a Supreme Court case that her husband Eugene Fidell had submitted an amicus brief:[20] He had submitted an amicus brief in the Hamdan case. Fidell also submitted an amicus brief in the Boumediene case when it was at the D.C. Circuit level before it went to the Supreme Court. Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times at the time, opined that the paper "should have clued in readers" to Greenhouse's conflict, but defended the neutrality of her coverage.[21]

Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick, writing in Slate magazine, complained that the New York Times "had failed to stand up" for Greenhouse and defended Greenhouse from Whelan's criticism.[22] They quoted Yale Law School professor Judith Resnik who pointed out that Whelan had been unable to point to any actual sign of bias.

Unable to point to any actual bias, Whelan resorts to the petulant claim that the effect of Fidell's involvement in the detainee cases "would be impossible to separate … from the broader political bias that pervades so much of Greenhouse's reporting.

In a rebuttal in the National Review, Whelan asserted both that Bazelon and Lithwick had resorted to "baseless ad hominem attacks and to (literally) catty comments about 'right-wing kitty cats.'"[23] He then refutes the claim that he did not provide any actual examples of bias, and points readers to a previous article in his series on Greenhouse's alleged conflict of interest.[1]



  1. ^ "Yale Faculty: Linda Greenhouse". Yale Law School. 
  2. ^ a b "Talk to the Newsroom: Supreme Court Reporter". The New York Times. July 14, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Yale Law School : M.S.L. Program". Archived from the original on October 6, 2007. Retrieved October 7, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "Pulitzer Prize Winners 1998: Beat Reporting - Biography". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Linda Greenhouse Bride of Eugene R. Fidell". The New York Times. January 2, 1981. 
  6. ^ Brennan, Elizabeth A.; Clarage, Elizabeth C. Who's who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Greenwood Publishing. p. 6. Retrieved October 2, 2017. 
  7. ^ Greenhouse, Linda (2008-07-13). "2,691 Decisions". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  8. ^ "Linda Greenhouse". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Washington Week. Linda Greenhouse". PBS. Archived from the original on 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  10. ^ "NYT's Greenhouse Takes Buyout Offer". Houston Chronicle. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  11. ^ a b Tony Mauro (June 12, 2008). "A Goodbye for Greenhouse". Legal Times. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  12. ^ "The Opinion Pages - Opinionator - Linda Greenhouse". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  13. ^ a b c Folkenflik, David (26 September 2006). "Critics Question Reporter's Airing of Personal Views". All Things Considered. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  14. ^ a b "2006 Radcliffe Institute Medalist Linda Greenhouse '68". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Archived from the original on 2007-08-26. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  15. ^ "Goldsmith Career Award". The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University. Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  16. ^ "John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism". Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  17. ^ "Linda Greenhouse '68 Wins 2006 Radcliffe Institute Medal" (Press release). Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. 2006-06-08. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  18. ^ John Eggerton (10 August 2007). "Journalism Educators Bar C-SPAN Cameras". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2015-01-08. 
  19. ^ Beckerman, Gal (10 August 2007). "The Greenhouse Effect (Updated):Hurricane Linda blows C-SPAN cameras away". Columbia Journalism Review. Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University. 
  20. ^ Ed Whelan (13 December 2007). "Linda Greenhouse's Ethical In-Fidell-ity". Bench Memos, National Review Online. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  21. ^ Clark Hoyt (20 January 2008). "Public and Private Lives, Intersecting". New York Times. 
  22. ^ Emily Bazelon; Dahlia Lithwick (January 22, 2008). "Lay Off Linda: Why doesn't the New York Times stand up for Linda Greenhouse?". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-25. Whelan didn't point to any concrete problem with Greenhouse's handling of these cases. That should be easier to do than with almost any other reporter, given that Greenhouse relies primarily on court filings and oral arguments that are publicly available in their entirety, as Yale law professor Judith Resnik points out to us. Unable to point to any actual bias, Whelan resorts to the petulant claim that the effect of Fidell's involvement in the detainee cases 'would be impossible to separate … from the broader political bias that pervades so much of Greenhouse's reporting. 
  23. ^ Ed Whelan (23 January 2008). "Far From Sober". Bench Memos, National Review Online. 

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