Here we have the President of the United States, in his State of the Union address, hectoring the Supreme Court over a decision with which he disagrees, and urging Congress to help him circumvent the effect of that decision. This may be unprecedented.
You can see Justice Samuel Alito shaking his head and mouthing the words, “Not true,” in response to the president.
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.
Instapundit has a collection of additional comments on this latest episode.
One of the criticisms we hear about President Obama is that he is arrogant. This episode certainly seems to support that claim. And that attitude of arrogance may pervade his administration. In the video, you can see Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, at the Court members’ right. He is sitting right next to them. At least, he was, until he leapt to his feet and, with a grin, began applauding the president’s statement. If nothing else, this whole episode is appallingly impolite.
And to think the president is a lawyer.