E.J. Dionne, Jr. gives Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito the back of his hand in his latest column:
The nation owes a substantial debt to Justice Samuel Alito for his display of unhappiness over President Obama's criticisms of the Supreme Court's recent legislation -- excuse me, decision -- opening our electoral system to a new torrent of corporate money.
Alito's inability to restrain himself during the State of the Union address brought to wide attention a truth that too many have tried to ignore: The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government.
Obama called the court on this, and Alito shook his head and apparently mouthed "not true." His was the honest reaction of a judicial activist who believes he has the obligation to impose his version of right reason on the rest of us.
Dionne, Jr. then takes conservatives to task for criticizing Obama's right to criticize the Supreme Court. He then cited an article President Reagan penned in 1983 that was critical of Roe v. Wade a decade earlier. Surely there's a difference between Reagan having written an article critical of a Supreme Court decision and Reagan having used a State of the Union address to publicly assail the Court. Believe me, if Reagan had chosen that venue to express his displeasure with the Supreme Court liberals like Dionne would have the been first to scream holy hell.
Dionne, Jr. also doesn't think President Obama was factually wrong when he called out the Supremes for overturning "a century of law" with regard to their decision on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. But Adam Winkler, a UCLA Law Professor and liberal blogger, disagrees with Obama's thinking. While Winkler took Alito to task for his lack of etiquette he also wrote that Obama was wrong in stating the Court had overturned "a century of law."
When President Reagan wrote about Roe v. Wade more than a quarter century ago he didn't get the substance of the decision wrong. If President Obama wants to talk about Supreme Court decisions he should at least do the Court the courtesy of having his facts straight.