January 27, 2010

FROM JUSTICE ALITO, a “you lie” moment? “POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt, who’s in the House chamber, reports that Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words ‘not true’ when President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision.” Drudge is calling Obama’s criticism “intimidation,” but apparently, they weren’t so intimidated. As I said before, Obama’s behavior wasn’t very Presidential, and it wasn’t very wise.

UPDATE: Brad Smith: “The president’s statement is false.”

MORE: “When you hear the president of the United States demagoguing the First Amendment, you sit there and you take it, son.”

No, actually, you don’t, and Alito didn’t. And that will step on Obama’s press tonight and tomorrow, turning his demagoguery into a negative for him. That’s why Presidents usually act Presidential. Not so much because it’s dignified. But because it’s smart. That’s something that Obama, with his limited experience on the national stage, hasn’t figured out yet.

MORE: Video.

Plus, from Dan Riehl, “If this becomes the narrative it hurts Obama and distracts from any thing he may have wanted to accomplish with the address.”

And from Prof. Randy Barnett:

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds [of] Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

It’s the usual Chicago approach to criticism, I’m afraid.

On Facebook, Kevin Hill writes: “Not quite as good as ‘E pur si muove.’ But close.”

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