| Obama, last night:
"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests- including foreign corporations- to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said. "Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."
Justice Alito was seen mouthing the words, "not true," during this passage. Reaction from the right is hilarious.
Sara Palin: "Obama was "embarrassing our Supreme Court. ... T]his will be the huge take-away moment." The Corner's [Bradley Smith called it "either blithering ignorance of the law, or demagoguery of the worst kind."
Politico's 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 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.
This is certainly somewhat different than previous outcry from conservatives about "judicial activism," eh? Especially when Citizens United was an actual example of judicial activism, where conservative SCOTUS justices saw fit to greatly expand the scope of a case brought before them to undo a century of precedent concerning the regulation of corporate money and politics. And as former SCOTUS justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, noted, Citizens United poses more of a threat to the reputation, independence, and efficacy of our judicial system than any paragraph in a speech ever could:
She added that last week's decision was likely to create "an increasing problem for maintaining an independent judiciary."
"In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending," Justice O'Connor said, "the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon."
But based on previous rulings by the SCOTUS' conservative majority - from Bush v Gore to rulings on voter ID laws to Citizens United - it appears that some justices think the law should align with corporatist Republican electoral strategy by discouraging voters from going to the polls and removing roadblocks on corporations to allow them to dictate policy.