Justice John Roberts Makes Supreme Court Look Petty
- 2010/03/11 00:56:44
- Read all 831 opinions
Alito broke with decorum and disrespected the Office of the President. The next step for him should have been an apology. The justice declined. But the story as often does in a 24 hour news cycle lost traction and faded from the headlines.
Now, however, Chief Justice Roberts has reignited the controversy by defending Alito's behavior. In a speech to students at the University of Alabama, Chief Justice Roberts asserted that President Obama had “denigrated” the State of the Union and turned it into a “political pep rally.”
Justice Roberts, the denigration of those hallow chambers began when Rep. Joe Wilson yelled “you lie” during the President's speech on health care reform. A president announcing his disgust with a Supreme Court decision is called a political disagreement, not a pep rally.
President Obama is a political figure who will be running for re-election in three years, while Justice Roberts is, at least in theory, a sage symbol of American justice who is seated for life. President Obama will be gone in either 2012 or 2016 while Roberts and Alito could be around for as long as they breathe.
So would it be too much to ask for them to both sit down and be quiet? Apparently so, because Justice Clarence Thomas later chimed in (which is odd considering the fact that he's better known for following Justice Scalia's lead than actually articulating his own thoughts) to say that “it has become so partisan and it's very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there."
In 1856, Senator Charles Sumner was beaten into unconsciousness on the floor of the U.S. Senate by a member of the House. This was not during a State of the Union Speech, but the event does speak to the level of savage partisanship historically present in Congress.
Members of the Supreme Court, though, aren't supposed to bend to the whims of constituencies, party affiliations, or even other Justices. They're above the fray.
So instead of teaming up against President Obama, and accusing him of denigrating the hallowed chambers of Congress, maybe Justices Alito, Roberts, and Thomas should familiarize themselves with the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court and the expectations therein. It's obviously time for a refresher course.
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