Justice Alito Rebukes President During State of the Union Speech

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito took offense at President Obama’s shocking breach of decorum during the State of the Union address last night when he chastised the justices for a recent ruling on campaign finance laws.

With the black-robed justices sitting directly in front of the podium, the Pesident said: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well 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 that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

While the Democrats in the chamber rose to their feet and cheered, Justice Alito was seen mouthing the words, “not true, not true.”

In typical partisan fashion, liberal lawmakers applauded the president for this unprecedented reproach of a branch of government during a State of the Union speech and critized Alito’s reaction.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told Politico.com that he was glad the president called out the Supreme Court.

“He [Alito] deserved to be criticized, if he didn’t like it he can mouth whatever they want,” Weiner said. “These Supreme Court justices sometimes forget that we live in the real world. They got a real world reminder tonight, if you make a boneheaded decision, someone’s going to call you out on it.”

But others, including the organization that brought the Supreme Court case, Citizens United, disagree.

“President Obama’s remarks tonight reflect a woeful disregard for the fundamental First Amendment rights of American citizens,” said Citizens United President David N. Bossie.

Bradley A. Smith, former FEC member and chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, also expressed outrage at the president’s remarks. 

“The President’s swipe at the Supreme Court was a breach of decorum, and represents the worst of Washington politics — scapegoating ‘special interest’ bogeymen for all that ails Washington in attempt to silence the diverse range of speakers in our democracy,” he said.

Senators. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) are promising to present legislation within the next two weeks that will mitigate the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Liberal lawmakers have good reason to want to stifle the amount of corporate contributions made to political candidates as business tend to favor politicians whose policies support fiscally conservatism and the free market.

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