Roberts Criticizes Obama For State of the Union — Without a Word of Criticism for Alito

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts spoke publicly to criticize President Barack Obama for his State of the Union — calling his reference to the Citizens United “very troubling.” He implicitly denounced the President for allowing the speech to “degenerate[] to a political pep rally.” Most notably, however, he did not have a single word of objection for fellow conservative Justice Sam Alito for his expression of disagreement during the address. Robert’s Rules of Order now appear to be rather selective in their application.

At the talk at the University of Alabama, Roberts indicated that it was unfair to criticize the Court when justices “according the requirements of protocol – [have] to sit there expressionless.” But, of course, they all did not sit there expressionless, but Roberts does not acknowledge the serious breach of protocol from his colleague who mouthed “not true” and shook his head in disagreement.

Roberts lost considerable credibility with the omission. It is hard to claim to defend tradition when you give a pass to a colleague while lashing out at Democrats and the President.

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40 thoughts on “Roberts Criticizes Obama For State of the Union — Without a Word of Criticism for Alito”

  1. It seems Lincoln’s words have application even today:

    “We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.”

    And perhaps even more aptly, the gentleman from Illinois understood a thing or two about restraint:

    “The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed.”

  2. Butters,
    Obama did exactly what his predecessors have done. Roberts, like the rest of the bought and sold Republicans want it their way and only their way.

  3. Well now we have two judges talking out of both sides of their mouths…

    Prof I have a new email address if you need to reestablish my credentials 🙂

  4. i’m no fan of roberts, but he conceded as much in his speech:

    Roberts said anyone is free to criticize the court and that some have an obligation to do so because of their positions.

    “So I have no problems with that,” he said. “On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. 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.”

  5. Roberts’ excessive pride and Alito’s blatant insolence have come together in a rather perfect hubristic storm. Dressing ’em up in robes and putting ’em on the bench hasn’t changed their basic identities … political hacks.

  6. To borrow a riff from the president: If not Obama, who? If not at the state of the union address, when?

    Perhaps the Chief Justice needs to reread the Constitution:
    Article II, Section 3, the president

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

  7. The Court made a totally political, uujustifiable decision.
    If they want to play politics then they are going to have to live with political criticism.

    Robert’s whining does nothing to help maintain respect for the Court or its dehumanizing decisions.

  8. I wonder if Roberts was awake during the Bush Administration when George W. repeatedly took exception to “liberal activist” judges? Buddha put it correctly. Roberts and Alito are liars and they were bought and sold long before they made it to the Supreme Court.

  9. Dredd,

    I’ll give you Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are conservative. Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor are liberal. Kennedy really is a swing vote.

  10. Professor Turley:

    It’s my understanding that the Chief Justice is supposed to keep his mouth shut on all things political at the risk of tainting the court as a tool of one side or the other.. Am I that wrong??

  11. Chief Justice Roberts ought to consider the words of President Abraham Lincoln in his First Inaugural Address, delivered while Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, after administering the Oath of Office sat in silence.

    “I do not forget the position, assumed by some, that Constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding, in any case, upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.”

    Lincoln was criticizing Taney’s decision in Dred Scott. In that case, Taney had allowed his own personal prejudiced opinion that African Americans were beings of an inferior order to influence his decision as a judge. Without any basis in law, history or the Constitution, he ruled that both slaves and freed slaves could not be citizens, were the property of the slaveowners, and the slaveholders’ property rights were protected by the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.

    Roberts should consider carefully the fact that Lincoln is regarded as our greatest President, while Taney was the worst Chief Justice by far in our entire history.

  12. “…the serious breach of protocol from his colleague…”

    Geewillikers ‘Fesser T that thar iz durn nigh hiperbowlee…

  13. Buddha,

    I have a question: How many Championship Norwegian Forest cats does it take to change a light bulb?

  14. Seems like its time for the President to nominate a NEW CHIEF Judge. It is not a constitutional office. Period.

    “The Chief Justice, like all other federal judges, is nominated by the President and confirmed to sit on the Court by the Senate. The U.S. Constitution states that all justices of the Court “shall hold their offices during good behavior,” meaning that the appointments only end when a justice dies in office, resigns, or is impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate.”

  15. Roberts is a fascist tool and, as of Citizens United, a traitor to We the People and his oath of office.

    Any questions?

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