Thursday, January 28, 2010

Supreme Court Smack Down

State of the Union addresses are usually pretty benign affairs. Presidents get a chance to talk about all the things they have done and all the things they want to do to a captive congressional and national audience. Also in attendance are various members of the Supreme Court, who are invited, but not required, to attend.

Last night, six of the nine justices were seated right in front of the president when Obama, breaking with precedent, issued a smack down of last week's decision on campaign finance.

With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.
Not exactly a presidential f-you, but what was surprising, as the cameras trained in on the justices, was Justice Samuel Alito, "breaking with decorum," by shaking his head, mouthing "no, not true," and being all kinds of pissy with the president's assertions. Check out the video (Alito is seated in the second row of robes next to Sotomayor, behind Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg and Breyer):



If you watch it a couple of times, more hilarious are the strained looks on Roberts and Kennedy's faces (Kennedy was the author, after all).

I think Orin Kerr over at Volokh sums up what they were thinking:
“We are so not coming to this next year.”

1 comment:

Jay Livingston said...

Ted McCagg had another of his "brackets" takes on this one:
http://tedmccagg.typepad.com/drawings/2010/01/alito.html