March 9, 2010

"The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering..."

"... while the court — according the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.... I'm not sure why we're there."

Chief Justice John Roberts opines on the State of the Union.

82 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

He was right. The Democrats acted as bad or worse than Wilson when he told Obama he lied. He was one man. They were a whole party acting like teenagers- rude, ill raised, impolite, boorish teenagers.

It was disgusting to watch. But, hey, what do you expect from the Democratic Party- protocol and decorum?

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

Zing!

Could've been harsher. He could've pointed out that Alito was right...

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Oh, come on, Johnny Boy!!! Protocol only exists in so far as you follow it; you are the Chief Fucking Justice for Christ's sake! You can stay the fuck home if you want to. Scalia does 'cuz he's a fucking smart ass and he doesn't just stupidly do whatever NBC and The New York Times want him to do. Next year make a decision to do something different – for instance you could invite Tony over and you can both sit on your sofa and watch the Doublespeak Spectacle Show unfold as you pass a joint between the two of you and offer whatever comments you want.

I hereby deny cert to your whinny-ass complaining, motherfucker!

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucid said...

Obama's public persona is increasingly that of someone who does things badly. This is the rising narrative about him, and we can expect more and more people calling Obama on his nonsense, as Roberts does here.

traditionalguy said...

Roberts knows that the oldest trick is to intimidate judges by simply standing menacingly and yelling insults at them. That is why the Judges have the power to jail people instanter in their courtrooms for "Contempt of Court". Otherwise the side that brings the most SIEU thugs into court wins, until the other side out does them. Not that there is anything wrong with a civil war, but warfare is not the courts normal role. The Brown Shirts are the bullies who beat people as a political method. What have Obama and Pelossi done to us in Congress just to please George Soros for a few more measly dollars?

Howard said...

Julius, please go easy on the Beaver tonight. You'll make the peanut gallery have the vapors again.

traditionalguy said...

Julius Ray... It won't work here. Roberts can't hear your contempt expressed for him and his role here.

edutcher said...

It's the Chicago Way, but, more importantly, the Democrat Party Way and has been since slavery.

traditionalguy said...

Otherwise the side that brings the most SIEU thugs into court wins, until the other side out does them. Not that there is anything wrong with a civil war, but warfare is not the courts normal role. The Brown Shirts are the bullies who beat people as a political method.

Interesting point. Hitler and Mussolini had their brownshirts and blackshirts (Hitler ahd both, really), so now the Demos have their purpleshirts. This administration looks more and more like the Weimar Republic every day.

I'll bet Soros can't wait to tell the SEIU where all his Jewish neighbors' property is.

Joe said...

John Roberts said Tuesday... [that] the annual speech has "degenerated to a political pep rally."

Precisely why I stopped watching them decades ago, regardless of who was president.

Chip Ahoy said...

Surrounded by one branch of government cheering.

The description is half right, anyway.

From Inwood said...

Good for him.

Bad show for Obama & the jackals. Hey does Obama have any respect for our traditions other than the need to play "Hail To The Chief" whenever he appears?

As some wag said, I thought that the Obamai were Marxists, just not Groucho, Harpo…

Hail Fredonia!

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

Hey, somebody tell Roberts at least the Democrats weren't poking the justices in the chest while standing around them naked.

Shudder.

Seriously, as I watched the SOTU live it was the most visibly shocking display of wanton bullying I've ever seen in governance, so obviously and pathetically fueled by a hipocritically self-righteous group-think.

No wonder these idiots are about to drive themselves off a cliff.

kentuckyliz said...

I saw my thyroid oncologist today for results of recent tests and scans (good results) and I couldn't look at him because I wanted to bust out laughing. He looks like Rahm Emmanuel. Then I could only picture him naked in the shower poking a finger in my chest while he nagged me about my weight. (Yeah, Femara causes joint pain, bloating, and weight gain. Damn medicine, saving my life and effing up other things at the same time.)

Peter V. Bella said...

And Julius Ray Hoffman just prove my point. Disgusting. Rude. Ill raised. Boorish. Impolite. Teenager.

Toy said...

"Hey does Obama have any respect for our traditions..."

Obama's just being a Democrat--like Andrew Jackson and FDR. Don't like what the Supreme Court says? What separation of power? We'll fix that little problem.

Kevin said...

It does seem odd to me that the justice who promoted, indeed glorified, the idea of the judge as umpire would go to such great lengths to condemn the political branch. Here is the man who had such great respect for the legislature and the executive that he castigated his own court at length is his dissent in Boumediene for disrespecting the considered will of the political branches in crafting labyrinthian substitutes for habeas. He then goes on to ignore the cannon of constitutional avoidance and deference to the legislature that he was defended with such gusto in that case in order to achieve the result he wanted in Citizens United. And this, this impartial umpire, then goes on to publicly criticize both the executive and the legislature for being...wait for it... political. In a political venue. Umpire indeed.

Kevin said...

As to being like any Democrat who would ignore a separation of power when it suited him... It was the Bush administration who had to be rebuked in four consecutive Supreme Court rulings for its unconstitutional treatment of detainees. Even in this extremely conservative and hyper polarized court. Respecting separation of powers? The Court is one, you'll recall, of the branches amongst which the powers are separated. Roberts may want to pretend otherwise, so long as it suits his preferred outcome, but the Court is in the constitution.

Palladian said...

Is George Soros in the Constitution? David Axelrod? Czars?

Joe M. said...

SotU, 2011. Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas stay home. Can you imagine the headlines?

Joe M. said...

(Needless to say, were that to happen, it would in fact be Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas who would be acting in a sensible and nonpartisan manner.)

Kevin said...

Though, Palladian, that is not the kind of comment that invites a rational response, I'll bite. Because I think it is important to distinguish areas where we could have legitimate disagreement (e.g. the merits of the Citizens United ruling, and areas where you are just wrong and spouting talking points. So again...
The Bush administration had 35 people who were referred to as "Czars" (a media created term devoid of objective meaning). The Obama administration has 36 comparable positions. Did you complain about the Czars being in the constitution during the Bush administration? Otherwise your comment is mere posturing.

Geoffrey said...

Congratulations Kevin,

You've just done a fine job of defending; Disgusting. Rude. Ill raised. Boorish. Impolite. Adolescent behavior...I wonder, are you a lawyer? If not, you could have been one. You exemplify those who state; Truth? What is truth but what we wish it to be?

The truism still applies; Some people are raised up into adults who contribute, others are dragged up until they leave the nest but remain a 'pestilence' upon society's posterior.

Kevin said...

Geoffrey, I'm not sure how voicing my opinions clearly and attempting to respond rationally to another comment makes me a pestilence, or a defender thereof. In fact, I'm not sure what it is you don't like about what I said other than that you think it sounds like a lawyer. In which case, it may not be a wise idea to read and comment on Ann's blog, given her status among the hated class. But since I am here already and now invested in responding against better judgment, I invite you to clarify.

sonicfrog said...

Of course, there will be a beer summit over this!

traditionalguy said...

Kevin...Your comment was a good argument in the spirit of the Marbury Vs Madison tug of war. The point that the umpire made here was that the court cannot function while an aroused community is threatening to beat the umpire after the game is over. Politics ain't beanbag. So who will take the court's place until the King and his Congress is in agreement with the enforcing the First Amendment? The Justice Czar can be appointed temporarily. Van Jones is a great natural leader of community anger. The court could temporarily suspend the Constitution and act like the community desires for it to act. The savings of using one man rule over nine man person committee is worth considering...temporarily of course.

Kevin said...

Clearly I wasn't clear enough in my original post, so allow me to restate. It is the job of a judge to say what the law is. Roberts made a cause celebre of pretending otherwise: that a judge should merely apply the law to cases as they come. It is my opinion that this was a disingenuous and pandering account of what a Supreme Court justice should do. And so when he now is actively interjecting himself into this political debate, I take umbrage at his hypocrisy.

If you care to continue reading, perhaps an example to illustrate might make me more disciplined. Justice Scalia is a stickler for adhering to precedent when it suits him, and to textual analysis when it suits him, and to originalism when it suits him. He will often badger counsel at oral arguments to produce "just one case" that demonstrates the precise result that side wants. This is because he thinks judges should "discover" rather than "make" the law. And so when he writes the opinion for McDonald v. City of Chicago, as he probably will, he will have just one case, and only one, to cite for the proposition that there is an individual right to bear arms in the constitution. Conveniently, he also wrote that one case. There, lacking any precedent, he had to go through extended linguistic gymnastics to show why, despite the fact that no other justice in the history of the court had so held, the text of the constitution absolutely compelled this result. I agree with Justice Scalia in this case. I think there is an individual right to bear arms in the constitution. And I want the court to enforce vigorously that right, within reasonable limits, so that it will also feel compelled to enforce vigorously my first amendment rights, within reasonable limits. But I know that Justice Scalia made that law. He did not discover it anywhere, since no court had ever held as such. And that is as it should be. It is what judges do, to say what the law is.

Only the conservative judges like to pretend otherwise, much to my chagrin. And Roberts peddled this notion with especial delight. Citizens United was absolutely a peak behind the curtain, as was Heller when it came down. It will be very interesting to see how the attack on "judicial activism" develops now that the conservatives are the ones practicing it more often. But for now we have conservative judges who want to have it both ways: to say what the law is while pretending they are doing otherwise. And for Roberts to profess to be the apolitical umpire while still going out of his way to rebuke the President and Congress is madness.

One last thing, as this is obviously too long already. You ask who will take the Court's place after the President confers with Congress to respond to Citizens United. The answer is simple. The Court will, as it should. After Rasul, President Bush and Congress convened to create the Detainee Treatment Act to override the Supreme Court. (I trust, by the way, that you were not as worried about the "King" in that case?) They attempted to extinguish the jurisdiction of the court to review habeas petitions at all. They did, actually, try to suspend the Constitution the way you (somewhat confusingly) suggest Obama will do now. And the Court responded by reasserting its jurisdiction and reaffirming the force of the Constitution. And it was absolutely right to do so (for reasons best left to another time). But the point for this discussion is that separation of powers works to prevent abuses of liberty, and it requires judges to say what the law is to have any force. All judges understand that and do it anyway. Roberts just likes to pretend otherwise.

The rest of the Van Jones talk strikes me as reflexive attacking that is irrelevant to any point I've made, but feel free to enlighten me.

Mick said...

From Inwood said,

"Bad show for Obama & the jackals. Hey does Obama have any respect for our traditions other than the need to play "Hail To The Chief" whenever he appears?"

Of course he doesn't. It all goes abck to the reason that he is ineligible to hold the office of POTUS. He lacks the attachment and allegiance to country that a Natural Born Citizen would have the higher probability of possessing. Obama is precisely the type of man that the framers would have prevented from holding the office. He was admittedly born a dual citizen of Britain (his father was a Kenyan citizen), therefore he fails to have the unity of blood and soil that creates the Natural Born Citizen of Natural Law as described by Vattel (born in a country of Citizen parentsssss).
Roberts knows that Obama is not a Natural Born Citizen. Why do you think he screwed up the inaugural oath and did it in private later (with no film of the event)?

Mick said...

Kevin said...
"Clearly I wasn't clear enough in my original post, so allow me to restate. It is the job of a judge to say what the law is."

it certainly is. This court made the absolute correct ruling in Heller (in which Scalia referenced Vattel), Bush v. Gore (a true equal protection case, not the nonsense of earlier cases of "rights" granting), and Citizens United (obviously 1st Amendment Free speech).
Of course Obama was lying, and the fawning media is lying, when they claim that the case was about campaign finance. It was about the ability of a Corporation to buy political advertising in the media. Of course they should have access to the media!
Of course Obvama and his ilk object to that because they only want their BEHOLDEN Corporations, The Media, to have a voice in elections. The point is that Obama was lying in front of the world when he tried to thugishly browbeat the judges that had graciously come to his little Pep Rally.

Mick said...

“I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich; and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent on me as according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Justice be done, though the heavens shall fall. Unfortunately, the SCOTUS has become so politicized that the outcomes of the cases (5-4) are predictable. I don't think that a Supreme Court justice should be speaking about any case in a public forum.

Opus One Media said...

I, in particular, are not sure why some of you are there. And then there are the fruitloops here:

Peter V. Bella said...
"He was right. The Democrats acted as bad or worse than Wilson when he told Obama he lied"

naw Peter. Wilson acted incredibly badly and if you can't see the difference then you need to stop drinking in the morning. He didn't "tell Obama" he shouted it. He, like you, has all the bad judgment we have grown to expect from the transitional species.

mrs whatsit said...

I don't really think the independence of the judiciary was threatened by this, except symbolically. But the sheer boorish rudeness of it was jaw-dropping, as was what it revealed about the President's lack of respect for the Court and lack of comprehension of the ConstitutionA.

During the campaign, I can remember debating with somebody -- it might have been FLS -- in some comment thread here, about whether Obama would really have been so juvenile and crass as to intentionally give Hillary the cheek-scratching finger during that campaign appearance. It looked intentional to me, but I remember agreeing w/ whomever I was arguing with -- who didn't think it was intentional -- that it was hard to believe that any candidate so close to the nomination would be so utterly rude and lacking in class as to do something like that on camera. On that score, I no longer have any doubt.

mrs whatsit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Kevin...You make good arguments for the point of view of the Roberts Court being activist by discovering law in the Bill of Rights not before applied the same ways they now reason that it applies. Nice job. My point is that intimidation by a united Executive/King and his ministers in the Dem Majority legislature at a public speech forum is not excusable. Your argued end does not justify the Dems means, unless the Constitution really only restrains a ruler's whims until the next election cycle changes the ruler. Otherwise the remedy you want must be "found" within the Constitution's framework.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I think there is an individual right to bear arms in the constitution.... But I know that Justice Scalia made that law.

You're talking gibberish, Kevin.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You're talking gibberish, Kevin.

Not really. He's just expressing his dislike of conservative judges.

Citizens United was judicial activism but I'm curious what he thinks Kelo was? If anything, the conservative branch of the court was pretty consistent in preserving rights in the former case and advocating protection of the latter.

vet66 said...

The lack of civility and honor reminded me of the 2002 funeral of Paul Wellstone in Minnesota, 2002. That rout turned a memorial service into a DNC pep rally at the expense of decorum and respect.

The democrats are subservient to the left wing of their party comprised of layabouts, entitlement addicted and forever juvenile children with no respect for themselves or others.

Not only did they display for the world to see their total lack of understanding in SCOTUS' ruling but the forever young, botox loving, ME crowd precariously ensconced in perpetual juvenile arrested development.

If I were the SCOTUS I wouldn't show up.

A.W. said...

I think wherever you come down in the debate over Obama's criticism and Alito's (unintentional?) response, I think next year the supreme court should watch it on TV, and every year after, period. That much was made obvious.

John said...

Glenn Reynolds made a good point. Thanks to boy Obama's little rant, no one remembers anything he said. They only remember Alito's mouthed response. Next year, everyone will just care about which justices do and do not show up. He basically walked over two of his own speeches.

Next year's SOTUS, in the aftermath of a savage beating at the ballot box and with five of the nine Supreme Court Justices not showing up, should be quite the affair.

Fr Martin Fox said...

If Roberts and Alito join Scalia and Thomas in not showing up, will the remaining justices want to show up? Will any of them want to be seen as "favored" or favoring Obama? What if none of them shows up?

A.W. said...

Kevin

You comment is so wrong on so many levels it is not funny.

> It is the job of a judge to say what the law is. Roberts made a cause celebre of pretending otherwise: that a judge should merely apply the law to cases as they come.

Actually, there is no inconsistency in that at all. Unless you mean that “saying what the law is” means that they should be actually making the law, out of whole cloth.

And its worth noting that the wise latina pretty much agreed with him. Tell me, if it is legitimate to just make sh-t up when ruling, then why can’t liberal judges be more forthright about it? Why can’t they say, “sure, nothing in the law even allows this result, but its good to be da king, so I will rule however I want for whatever reasons I want”? Why even talk about the constitution if they don’t care what it says?

> He will often badger counsel at oral arguments to produce "just one case" that demonstrates the precise result that side wants. This is because he thinks judges should "discover" rather than "make" the law. And so when he writes the opinion for McDonald v. City of Chicago, as he probably will, he will have just one case, and only one, to cite for the proposition that there is an individual right to bear arms in the constitution. Conveniently, he also wrote that one case.

As hugo black once said (paraphrase), the ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the constitution itself, not what we have said about it.

I doubt you can find a single scalia quote saying, “we can never, ever, never set new precedent.” But certainly discovering a new right more than 200 years after the constitution is written is a dubious concept. You could say that about Heller, and about Lawrence. The difference, however, is this. The highly restrictive gun laws seen in Heller are a relatively recent phenomenon. Meanwhile the laws challenged in Lawrence follow a tradition that actually predates the constitution.

> he had to go through extended linguistic gymnastics to show

It takes legal gymnastics to say that “shall not be infringed” means it shall not be infringed? Its fascinating to watch how liberals convince themselves that the 2nd amendment doesn’t mean what it says. Its fascinating to watch how the liberals convince themselves that the founding fathers, having only recently thrown off tyranny, would then consent to have the very weapons they used to do so taken away from them.

> I think there is an individual right to bear arms in the constitution.

You think there is an individual right to bear arms, but Scalia was wrong to agree with you? Sorry, huh?

> But I know that Justice Scalia made that law.

Then what the hell are you talking about when you say “the constitution”? If you are convinced that the written document called the constitution doesn’t contain it, that Scalia just made sh-t up, then its not the constitution, but precedent you are talking about. And the notion that it is good, right or desirable that the justices of the supreme court should ignore the actual written constitution and do what they damn well please is, well, frightening.

> Citizens United was absolutely a peak behind the curtain, as was Heller when it came down.

Yes, I suppose it was legal gymnastics in your mind when the supreme court interpreted the constitutional provision prohibiting Congress from abridging freedom of speech and the press to prevent them from passing a law limiting freedom of speech and the press. I find it continually amazing that the left thinks that applying the words of the constitution is activism.

Seriously, are those the best examples you have? Interpreting a provision stating that the government can’t infringe the right to bear arms, to mean that the government can’t keep you from owning and keeping a gun, and interpreting a provision stating that congress shall not infringe freedom of speech and the press, to prevent congress from regulating speech and the press.

Original Mike said...

I knew going in I would disagree with Obama's policies, but the sheer petulance of the man has been the real shocker.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirstin said...

The wise Latina looked uncomfortable sitting there, but I predict she'll be back next year.

Original Mike said...

If Roberts and Alito join Scalia and Thomas in not showing up, will the remaining justices want to show up? Will any of them want to be seen as "favored" or favoring Obama? What if none of them shows up?

Good point. I doubt any of them will want to show up next year. My prediction is that one will show up, so as not to give the appearance of an obvious snub, but the rest will stay home.

former law student said...

As a graduate of Catholic grammar school, Roberts should have been trained to "sit quietly with his hands folded" since age six. By not reacting he is making his nuns proud.

Fr Martin Fox said...

former law student said...

As a graduate of Catholic grammar school, Roberts should have been trained to "sit quietly with his hands folded" since age six. By not reacting he is making his nuns proud.

Oh please.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Original Mike said:

"I doubt any of them will want to show up next year. My prediction is that one will show up, so as not to give the appearance of an obvious snub, but the rest will stay home."

Could be; but that creates its own problems. Who shows up? What will it be taken to mean? Does the one who shows up want to his or her presence to be subjected to this kind of analysis?

If what you describe were going to happen, probably the least-bad thing would be for the chief to show up alone. But it's still a snub. If the majority of the court doesn't show up, it's a snub. Maybe the chief has to cajole some folks to show up next year so it doesn't become a thing.

Or, maybe the president communicates something privately that avoids that. That probably would be the smart thing to do, as long as it doesn't become public.

AlphaLiberal said...

John Roberts, how he must suffer this yoke of oppression.

Glen Greenwald says it just fine:

It's not actually a unique event of oppression or suffering to have to sit and listen to a speech where someone criticizes you and you can't respond that very moment (but are able, as Roberts just proved, to respond freely afterward). Even in the State of the Union Address, it's completely customary for the President to criticize the Congress or the opposition party right to their faces, while members of his party stand and cheer vocally, and -- as the reaction to Joe Wilson's outburst demonstrated -- "decorum" dictates that the targets of the criticism sit silently and not respond until later, once the speech is done. That's how speeches work. Only Supreme Court Justices would depict their being subjected to such a mundane process as an act of grave unfairness (and, of course, Roberts' comrade, Sam Alito, could not even bring himself to abide by that decorum).

What makes Roberts' petty, self-absorbed grievance all the more striking is that this is what judges do all the time. It's the essence of the judicial branch. Federal judges are basically absolute tyrants who rule over their courtroom and those in it with virtually no restraints. They can and do scold, criticize, berate, mock, humiliate and threaten anyone who appears before their little fiefdoms -- parties, defendants, lawyers, witnesses, audience members -- and not merely "decorum," but the force of law (in the form of contempt citations or other penalties), compels the target to sit silently and not respond. In fact, lawyers can be, and have been, punished just for publicly criticizing a judge.


Really. So can people in court just respond to the Judge whenever they want? That's fair.

John Roberts = WATB

AlphaLiberal said...

This is just one more symptom of Black Robe Disease. That only judges should be able to criticize people in front of them.

Roberts is a Republican hack and an activist judge for his partisan cause. And I'd tell him if he was sitting here in front of me.

Original Mike said...

Or, maybe the president communicates something privately that avoids that.

Who would believe him?

As to selection, short-straw method from among those "willing to go for the good of the team" (i.e. the liberals).

AlphaLiberal said...

Greenwald really nails John Roberts' overweening vanity:

The very idea that it's terrriby wrong, uncouth, and "very troubling" for the President to criticize one of their most significant judicial decisions in a speech while in their majestic presence -- not threaten them, or have them arrested, or incite violence against them, but disagree with their conclusions and call for Congressional remedies (as Art. II, Sec. 3 of the Constitution requires) -- approaches pathological levels of vanity and entitlement. .

A.W. said...

Alpha

Wow, you seriously have a man crush on Greenwald.

No, it was unseemly to call them out that way. its not the end of the world, but it was wrong.

But bluntly it only says that the SC shouldn't even be there.

John said...

"This is just one more symptom of Black Robe Disease. That only judges should be able to criticize people in front of them."

Acutely there is some truth to that. Federal judges are generally jerks. And there is a bit of justice that they finally ran into a President who is just as big of a jerk.

That said, had Bush gone after the Supreme Court over Hamden during one of his SOTU addresses Greenwald would have shit his pants. And so would have you. So while the point may be valid in some ways, you and people like Greenwald have long forfeited any credibility in making it. The fact that you can make it with a straight face takes an amount of shamelessness unattainable by most human beings. Since Greenwald barely qualifies as human, this is not surprising.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Original Mike:

Well, my point was perhaps the president communicates privately to the Chief Justice--a non-apology olive-branch of some sort--that the chief takes to mean, it won't happen again.

The chief takes the president at his word, and conveys that to those justices who otherwise might balk at attending...and next year there's no incident. We'd never know what the president said or did, we'd just know it was over.

I said that would be smart; maybe not, depends on what the president wants. The president might want to be in a confrontation with the Supreme Court; he might figure it helps paint the court as partisan, and that might be to his advantage.

But, if he goes down that road, then its hard to see why the Supreme Court should show up at all. Again, if that eventuates, will any member of the court want to show up, if his/her showing up will be interpreted in light of that? I.e. why would any of the court's liberals want to be seen as the "on Obama's team"?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Greenwald really nails John Roberts' overweening vanity:

That's funny. Greenwald complaining about someone else's vanity?

No Alpha, as usual you and Mr. Verbosity have it wrong yet again. Roberts is simply saying he doesn't see the point of the Justices having to sit there all stoic and unmoving while the rest of the chamber does cartwheels while The Won pontificates about how wrong the Justices are.

I give Alito credit. I would have flat out gave Obama the finger for being such a tool.

Original Mike said...

Fr. Fox: I understand and agree that Obama would be wise to take the course of action you have outlined. My point is, if you're Roberts, would you believe the man? He has shown that he has absolutely no compunction about breaking his word.

why would any of the court's liberals want to be seen as the "on Obama's team"?

I understand and agree. It may be however, that the liberal justices, as a group, think it would look really bad if no one goes, so they agree to draw straws to see which one of them "takes one for the team." I'm assuming the conservative justices just wouldn't go, period.

Blue@9 said...

What a laugh from the left. Can you imagine if Bush openly criticized a recent left-leaning decision during a SOTU address? He would have been called a fascist and accused of trying to bully the liberal members of the court. But put the shoe on the other foot and Roberts is a whiner.

Note that Roberts hasn't said shit about it until recently, and only because he was asked about it. But yeah, Roberts is the whiner.

Here's a clue: It raised eyebrows because it was out the ordinary and a breach of protocol. You can't do this shit and then say "What, what's the big deal?" Protocol matters, especially when you're dealing with separation of powers issues. The justices sit respectfully because they can't be seen as political. If you're saying this is all bullshit, then you might as well say that Wilson was okay to be a rude jackass during Obama's speech. Hell, let's just agree that anyone can do or say anything, fuck protocol. Let's have the Supreme Court put out weekly press releases critiquing the actions of the political branches.

former law student said...

Would Father Fox have hesitated to criticize Ted Kennedy in a sermon, had Ted dropped in for Sunday Mass? Would he not have expected Ted to sit silently and attentively to constructive criticism, as the nuns had trained him?

former law student said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

I'm assuming the conservative justices just wouldn't go, period.

I don't get it. If Roberts is a conservative ideologue, doesn't that throw suspicion on his "judges only call balls and strikes" thesis? Do we have a home plate umpire who is really a Yankees fan?

Blue@9 said...

Oh, and Greenwald can go hang. Judges have plenary power in the courtroom because it's their house. Generally you're only subject to it if you're required to be in court, and if you have to be in court it's because you and the law are having some unfortunate interaction. The issue here is that it's unseemly for a political branch to openly lash out at the non-political branch. You don't see the Supreme Court calling in the President to give him a public tongue-lashing.

Besides, the President, when giving the SOTU, is a guest in the Congress. It ain't his house; he's there to fulfill his constitutional duty and report to the Congress. The justices are invited guests, just like the President. When your invited speaker uses the podium to bash your other guests, that's fucking rude. Throw that on top of the crassness of openly criticizing one particular decision of Supreme Court, and you can understand why we care.

Defenseman Emeritus said...

Greenwald really nails John Roberts' overweening vanity

Greenwald, like you, has never nailed anything in his dimwitted life. Good luck getting anyone to follow a link to that donkey's blatherings.

Original Mike said...

Would Father Fox have hesitated to criticize Ted Kennedy in a sermon, had Ted dropped in for Sunday Mass?

You're equating a pastor delivering a sermon to his congregation to Obama delivering the state of the union? While Obama may find the analogy apt, I doubt few of the rest of us do.

virgil xenophon said...

I've always thought it both bad form and bad politics to have both the SCOTUS & the Joint Chiefs--two supposedly apolitical bodies--visually sitting at the feet as supplicants (ala Hitler's Generals) submissively placed below the elevated political Head of Government.

Fr Martin Fox said...

FLS:

You can ask me, it's all right; I'll answer.

If Sen. Kennedy had come to Piqua, Ohio, for Sunday Mass, it would have required something like campaigning for Obama during '08 campaign to bring him here; in which case, his visit would be high-visibility.

In that event, I would likely have known he was coming, and I would have tried to have a conversation with the Senator, or someone working with him. I would want to talk about the visit so its not disruptive. Sen. Kennedy would be welcome at Mass.

As far as criticizing him from the pulpit? I wouldn't do that solely because he was there; that is bad manners. My mentioning Sen. Kennedy by name would be unusual in any case, I seldom mention politicians by name.

A dicier question to answer would be, what if I'd already planned a homily that would--if he showed up--seem like it was aimed at him. Would I change it?

Probably I would find a way to say with courtesy what I came to say. Both because of good manners, and because it would be more effective, and because I wouldn't want to be part of that kind of news story.

Jeremy said...

Poor, poor Mr. Roberts.

I feel so bad for him.

If I didn't know better, I'd think he was one of the usual whiners here every day of the week.

Jeremy said...

lucid said..."Obama's public persona is increasingly that of someone who does things badly."

Based on what?

The ravings of the tea baggers or the wing nuts?

All Roberts is doing is joining the crowd of Obama haters who just can't handle the truth.

Jeremy said...

virgil xenophon said..."submissively placed below the elevated political Head of Government"

You think they should be seated above the President of the United States? Or maybe they could all stand next to him?

Or, hey...how about this?

JUST DON'T COME TO THE EVENT.

Duh.

traditionalguy said...

Jeremy and Alpha Liberal...Your assignment is to rent and watch James Cagney play Captain Obama and Henry Fonda play Justice Roberts in a very traditional 1955 movie aptly called "Mister Roberts".

Jeremy said...

Roberts lied his ass off during confirmation hearings and has turned out to be exactly as most people expected...a far right conservative, voting in lockstep with the other wing nuts who are turning the country upside down.

If he doesn't like what the President says...don't be there when he says it.

As for traditional-dolt's comment...I have absolutely no idea what you're comparing.

Are you drinking?

A.W. said...

Jeremy spoke in… class today…

So Jeremy you said this:

> Roberts lied his ass off during confirmation hearings

Okay, then PROVE IT. because I am guessing that with a lot of lefty talking points, you are full of crud.

> a far right conservative, voting in lockstep with the other wing nuts who are turning the country upside down.

By finding that the parts of the constitution that says that certain rights shall not be infringed, means that the rights shall not be infringed. Dangerous!

Seriously, what the hell are you talking about?

> If he doesn't like what the President says...don't be there when he says it.

Agreed. And I am pretty sure he won’t be there next year. But that doesn’t change the fact that the president broke decorum. As I said before, it ain’t the end of the world, but he does deserve the criticism he has been getting for it.

FLS

By the way, were any of those comments supposed to make sense?

traditionalguy said...

Jeremy...Welcome back. I honestly thought that you would enjoy Mister Roberts. It has not been on cable that I know of. It is an hilarious and also a touching story of a competent naval officer serving as best he can under the authority of an incompetent Captain; and that reminded me of President Obama treating The Roberts Court members, who serve us well, as if they are enemies of the people. Jack lemon won an Academy Award for playing Ensign Pulver, who reminds me of Lindsey Graham. The Congress members remind me of the seamen on the ship, like Rep. Massa.

Alan said...

As I see it, the problem with the President's remarks is how intemperate they were. His critique was not a substantive legal critique (e.g., "the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment applies to corporations, which in my view is incorrect because the right to free speech has traditionally been understood as an individual right"--a position with which I disagree but which I respect).

Instead, he attacked the Court's decision in a blisteringly partisan way, and made two factual errors in one sentence in the process. (Contrary to what he said in his SOTU, the Court's decision did not overrule a century of law, and it did not allow corporations to "spend without limits in our elections.")

President Obama is free to say what he wishes during the State of the Union, and the rest of us are free to criticize the substance of what he says. But I'd add that it'd be nice if the President, a former law professor, would show the Court some respect for a decision upholding First Amendment rights that's at least arguable in law. Again, if he'd disagreed on the merits, I would've had less of a problem with it.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that, because of the tenor of the President's remarks, I think the Chief Justice's response was appropriate.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I'm still wondering how it's good for the President if the Supreme Court doesn't show up. Obviously some folks don't care, or like the idea--including some on this thread.

As I said above, maybe it's what the President wants and it will help him. Maybe. Maybe not.

I find it hard to believe any of the more liberal members would want to show up under those circumstances.

Paul said...

On "All Thing Considered" today, Nina Totenberg justified Obama's slap at the court by saying other presidents had said similar things during their SotU addresses. She played a tape of Ronald Reagan criticizing Roe v. Wade, for example. However, while listening, I felt that Reagan was speaking soberly about a moral dilemma. Obama, on the other hand, has a juvenile, snide manner when he says, "With all due respect," meaning exactly the opposite. Obama comes across as petulant, as a previous commenter put it, and I suspect he will become increasingly so as he realizes he's lost his mojo.

David said...

Scene:

Bush at the podium delivering State of Union.

Blasts the Supreme Court for recent decisions upholding Roe v. Wade and for failing to overturn or limit Roe.

Republicans stand up and cheer.

Greenwald, Alpha, Jeremy, the New York Times and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois leap to Bush's defense, saying that he is entitled to his view and that those who find his statement inappropriate (including any lefty Justices) just need to grow a pair.

Hahahaha.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Paul:

The difference is that Reagan and Bush and Bush did not address the Court that handed down Roe. I don't recall Nixon dressing down the Burger Court in his time. Can anyone cite that?

Also, they tended to say, "we must fix this"--a sentiment the Court has no reason to take exception to.

A.W. said...

Paul

> "With all due respect," meaning exactly the opposite.

You said a mouthful. Just about every time in a TV show or movie, you see someone say, "with all due respect" you can usually replace the phrase with the words "you idiot(s)."

The whole thing was bullying and unseemly. and if anything it probably hurt him before the supreme court.

Harsh Pencil said...

The key word in "with all due respect" is "due".

As in, I am going to give you all the respect I believe you are due.

Which may not be very much.