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In the contentious case of Obama v. Supreme Court: ruling will come in the court of public opinion

Guest Blogger

Political tiffs between the White House and the Supreme Court don’t often burst into the open. So when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and President Barack Obama went at it last week, we wondered what it all meant for the average citizen and the nation. We turned for help to Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington University and author of “The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America.”


By Jeffrey Rosen

As the conflict between the chief justice and the president heats up, citizens are debating whether the president was disrespectful in criticizing the justices to their faces durin his State of the Union or, whether the chief justice was thinned skinned in responding. In his recent book, “The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution,” Barry Friedman offers some lessons from history, as well as some clues about who will prevail if this smack down continues.

Recounting the last great conflict between the White House and the court, in 1937, Friedman emphasizes that public opinion swung between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes as the two savvy politicians played different moves in a complicated chess game. After initially upholding New Deal legislation in 1934 and 1935, the court infuriated Roosevelt by unanimously striking down the National Industrial Recovery Act in May, 1935.

Roosevelt held a press conference denouncing the court – “We have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce” – and the intemperate tone of his remarks led to widespread editorials criticizing him for being disrespectful. This criticism may have emboldened the conservative justices, who then issued a series of 5-4 decisions chipping away at the New Deal.

Public opinion then swung in the opposite direction, against the court. Polls in 1936 found large majorities – more than two-thirds of Americans – supporting the New Deal, and Roosevelt won the 1937 election in a landslide.

Emboldened by his victory, Roosevelt attacked the Supreme Court in his January 1937 State of the Union address, and told a colleague he wished he had confronted the chief justice while taking the oath of office. Roosevelt then overplayed his hand once again by proposing the court packing plan, which would have allowed him to appoint additional justices for everyone who didn’t retire by the age of 70.

Public opinion swung against the president and toward the court, in light of national fears of executive dictatorship (and a savvy letter from the chief justice stressing that the court wasn’t behind in its workload, despite FDR’s claims). But it was a change of heart by the swing justice Owen Roberts that proved to be “the switch in time that saved nine,” as the court started upholding progressive legislation in the middle of the court-packing fight by 5-4 votes.

The switch in time, combined with the retirement of one of the conservative justices, took the wind out of the sails of the court packing fight. But Friedman concludes “had the Court not switched, the public would have supported disciplining it.” And of course, FDR, who lost the battle, won the war, as the court got out of the business of striking down progressive economic legislation for the next sixty years.

The 1937 face-off between the president and the chief justice suggests that our current White House-Supreme Court smack down may be a long drama with several acts. But more important than second-guessing any particular intervention – was Obama too harsh? was Roberts too thin-skinned? – is the public’s reaction at every stage.

Obama has lots of leeway to vigorously criticize the court, and to mobilize the public against it: in fact, presidents have always increased their popularity by court bashing over the long term. But they have to be perceived as defending the public interest rather than their own prerogatives.
Similarly, Roberts has some leeway in responding to Obama’s criticism, as Hughes did to Roosevelt, but he has to be seen to be defending judicial independence rather than the partisan interests of the conservative majority.

In the end, though, the battle will be won or lost in the court of public opinion. Opposition to the decision underlying the White House-Supreme Court drama -- the court’s ruling to allow a more active campaign role for corporations and unions -- is high at 80 percent, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC news survey. If it remains high, then the conservatives on the Supreme Court should plan their next moves very carefully.

By Steven E. Levingston  |  March 15, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Guest Blogger  | Tags: obama vs. supreme court; supreme court and obama; supreme court fight with obama  
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Comments

We may not like what the Supreme Court does, or we may approve their decisions. However, the original idea that the court should be independent, and for that reason appointed for as long as they are in good behavior—for life as we interpret it, was designed to avoid presidential dictatorships. That means that the President should live with the Supreme Court—like the rest of us, rather then try to influence its decisions. Presidents normally have a party agenda, while the Supreme Court normally has a constitutional agenda. We need an independent Supreme Court; otherwise we will just have a Supreme Rubber-Stamp.

Posted by: TheLionScribe | March 15, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court does not need to combat windmills and there is lots of hot air blowing. Balloon launch over DC coming soon. Looking forward to Washington Post balloon ride and looking down from wicker basket. A good place to ask questions.

Posted by: tossnokia | March 15, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is a right-wing nutjob, nothing more nothing less.

Corporations are people.

He needs to be impeached.

Now this: Clarence Thomas' wife, Virginia, starts conservative lobby. Uh oh.

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978103120

Posted by: BenAMarine | March 15, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

This is a big monkey wrench thrown into the Obama plans to disarm the American people as a dual entity and UN Security Council chairman flooding America with Foreign troops.
Interesting move by the Supreme Court to stop it.

Posted by: dottydo | March 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

obama showed he was low class on reaming the court at the state of the union.had no problem with his disagreement just the way he went about it.dick the the dick durbinby leaning overe the court area laping and taunting them was the worst. from illinois he we are still not used to him acting like a##HOLE.

Posted by: dagner49 | March 15, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Screw Roberts, Alito and Thomas. The three stooges of the right wing.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 15, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama's clear, polite and deferential description of this enormously important decision was in stark contrast to Steven's muttering "not true" under his breath like some chastened school boy. It was Steven's job to keep his mouth shut, not Obamas. It would have been a dereliction of his job not to challenge this game-changing left field ruling.

Posted by: joebanks | March 15, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Dotty you really are a loveable fruitcake:
"UN Security Council chairman flooding America with Foreign troops(!)"

OMG, I nearly snorted my coffee out of my nose.

Posted by: joebanks | March 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court just turned politics over to the big corporations. Of course they will disguise themselves in groups like The Chamber of Commerce, but they will dump billions (which came from fleecing the public) into the political discourse.

I don't blame the dying middle class for being angry at that. Also, there is a legal question at stake. Could the founders have given free speech to corporations whose existence they never even envisioned or was it meant for individuals? I'm not a lawyer, and I think I know the answer to that question.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

FDR became , like Jack, Robbert, and probably Ted Kennedy as icons of the American Public and freedom from oppression. Nobody but the lunatic fringe would ever regard Reagan or a Bush in that context. The republican appointed court has upheld every action of the right regardless of the actual black letter law as currently accepted in direct conflict with Robert's sworn testimony at his hearings. I believe that alone is grounds for impeachment and the law also agrees with that assessment of this situation. As an aside, doesn't this ruling directly oppose the stated position of those constitutionally grounded right wing conservatives since no corporations existed to be considered for inclusion in the original documents the right seems hell bent on remaining the law of the land?

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | March 15, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The point that should be emphasized is that the Supreme Court has shown zero resistance to the extraordinary measures the Obama administration has used to deal with the economic crisis. The Court was not even willing to hear the issues involved in the GM bankruptcy. It is far from clear what if any real substance there is in fears about the consequences of the recent decision. The President seems to have seized on this issue as a wedge that he can use in combating slipage in the polls. But among the many serious issues facing the American public including the state of our economy, our continuing military problems in Central Asia, and the residual major values isses with past divisive Court decisions like Roe V Wade, it is hard to take this uproar seriously as anything more than a diversion.

Posted by: dnjake | March 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

While the decision may lack popularity, it is not a galvanizing decision, like Roe, that can mobilize the population in a political way.

At least, that's how I see it.

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 15, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Roberts has crossed the political line.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for goodness sakes. I would bet that the very same people who are so very upset that President Obama made a statement about a Supreme Court decision had no problems when Joe Wilson shouted out "you lie" when President Obama was giving a televised speech to Congress. The feigned outrage that comes from the right over everything President Obama say or does has gotten old and ridicoulus. It is Roberts who is supposed to be above the fray. Instead what it shows is that Roberts is not impartial and I would be very concerned about his impartiality when he makes a ruling.

Oh and dagner49, I'm sorry but it is you who is no class and little intelligence from trying to read your post. President Obama has more class then you will ever have. Jealous much?

Posted by: catmomtx | March 15, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The ruling by the SCOTUS was a decision based upon the Court's interpretation of the Constitution.

In itself, the ruling did not have any earth shaking effect.

Obama's supporters have worked around the rules in order to fund his campaigns. Not just Soros (who has been fined numerous times, but also the MSM (corporations? NBC, etc.) have thrown their support in one direction or another (Obama?).
The Unions have been able to have an impact on elections by using its money to support the group's candidate, without regard for individuals' input.
Obama was probably feeling "personally" challenged by the ruling. As for U.S. taxpayers, are we to think that this ruling will impact our choices? Maybe -- Obama's high powered campaign won a lot of support.

This ruling is not a big deal -- we'll see. It just may be a flash in the pan, or it may even the playing fields.
The bigger deal to me personally, was the actual sight of the president making those remarks to the faces of the Justices.
And, worse, the standing ovation, directly over the Justices.
Have we lost all sense of civility and good behavior in order to push political agendas.
It was just rude and unnecessary. I am ambivalent about Roberts' remarks - I wish he hadn't retaliated and lowered himself as Obama did but I was glad too.....!

Posted by: pjcafe | March 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The second sentence is incorrect so I couldn't continue to read. Roberts and Obama did not go at it last week.

Posted by: rlj611 | March 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The president get criticized as does Congress. What make Robert feel the third branch of government should have special status? Let us not forget we are talking about a decision decided by only one vote. Believe it was a divided court and represents a pollitical divide. My message to Roberts is stop whining. If you can't take the heat stay our of the kitchen.

Posted by: tmd678 | March 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The State of the Union is the President's snapshot - a historical record - of what he (or she) sees as the important issues of the day. The President is speaking to the nation as a whole and not just the individuals in attendance. The President should not be expected to say, "I have some very important things to say about a recent Supreme Court ruling, but since the justices are in the room, I'll just tell you all another time."

Posted by: dognabbit | March 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Roosevelt won the 1937 election in a landslide"??? A little proofreading, please! That's a mistake a junior high school student shouldn't make.

Posted by: quantumleap99us | March 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This Supreme Court helped Bobble Head Bush and President Cheney get elected and look at the damage these guys did to our Country with the help of the Supreme Court.Roberts is a shame to the principles of what the court was supposed to stand for and Roberts has NO HONOR IN MY OPINION, why he now in my opinion is of the same level of character at Clarence Thomas, you remember him - you know the guy with no brains only color!

Posted by: gwazdos1 | March 15, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

In Citizens v FEC, the court upheld the free speech of profit and non-profit entities to electioneer (paid for out of their treasuries) via paid advertising on communications channels within 30 and 60 days of a federal primary or election, respectively. The issue was never about donating to a candidate. It was never about foreign corporations. The MSM has so distorted the decision that it is no wonder 80% polled don't agree. We either have freedom of speech of we don't. McCain-Feingold, banning the ads withon 30 and 60 days, was the issue. The ruling is available in summary and full text on the Internet. I advise all to read it and then decide before lobbing bombs at bogeymen and calling names. It is noteworthy that the ACLU submitted an amicus brief for Citizens United, in support of overturning McCain-Feingold. The DNC's amicus brief, opposed freedom of speech.

The MSM distortions are deliberate and contrived. What's more, Mr. Obama knew his statement was incorrect and his conclusion was fallacious. Yet, he persisted because he had the pulpit and the nation watching, and the captive audience of the Justices of the Supreme Court. He could chide at will without fear of being called out officially on his remarks. It was a cowardly act. Yet, in keeping with his character.

Posted by: dougmatt | March 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Is the Fox New-Fed American Public capable of understanding what is at stake here, and what the implications are for Corporate Dominance of all aspects of our lives?

The business about "what about unions' contributions and influence..." is a red herring. I would assume unions would/should be subject to the same limitations as corporatations insofar as campaign financing is concerned.

Posted by: Spectator | March 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

However much disrespect that you display for me, Sir, I can assure you that I have a lot more for you.

Posted by: websmith1 | March 15, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Dougmatt is correct. The argument was a limited one, about McCain Feingold and corporations being able to speak out in support for their candidates 30-60 days before elections. All other posturing is at "straw men", with proponents of McCain Feingold grasping outside of the realities of the legislation for more heft. Obama obviously feels that the monopoly of support he enjoyed from the MSM, Public Broadcasting, Soros and his illegal contributions (I suspect many more millions than he got caught for), the unions, and ACORN (with thousands of illegal votes by dead people, voters brought across state lines to vote twice, etc.) has been lessened through the Court's correct support of Free Speech.
I was personally appalled for two reasons: First, to have one branch of Government telling the other branch it had gone wrong, was an insult to the separation of powers they enjoy. And by extension, Obama's challenge to COngress to pass legislation overruling the Supreme Court's decision flies directly in the face of the Constitution's stated purpose for the separation of powers. The whole premise of lifetime appointments is so that the Court is NOT beholden to the whim of the current President or Congress, rather to the enduring ideals and strictures of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Sure, there are Amendments, but the reason they must be won via supermajorities of the House and Senate is to ensure that the People, through its representatives is speaking with a single voice. Obama needs to start respecting the Constitution that he swore so solemnly to support and defend.

Posted by: gburton58 | March 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

This is specifically written as a reaction to the blogger "lionscribe: No where in the documents setting up or describing the duties of the three branches of government prohibit one area from criticizing the others. In fact, stronger governments are made from more intelligent discourse than by "Respecting" someone's position, and being "quiet". It behooves all of us to read, learn and challenge those whose authority controls our lives. As to the President's disagreement with the court's last decision on Corporations seen as individuals with regard to rights individuals hold in voicing support for political ideas and candidates, not only do I support the President voicing such disagreement, but I need him to, as a private citizen, so that my rights are protected. There must be checks and balances to all branches of government. Opinions are certainly a valid check for the Supreme Court.

Posted by: lgtgirl | March 15, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Give the nod to the President on this one. The Republican tainted bench is leaning the wrong way and we will pay the "price" for it. A good verbal spanking is what the Chief Justice and a couple of his wingers need.

Posted by: ronjeske | March 15, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Right on Dougmatt.

The Bill of Rights does not actually "give" us anything, at least not anything we did not already have (whether by providence or nature). It merely restricts the government from infringing on those rights. And what the government cannot do to an individual, it cannot do to a group of individuals organized as a corporation, union, church or whatever.

Consider the consequences of a view that the Bill of Rights only applies to individuals. The government would be able to illegally search and seize records and property of any group. They could deny any group or organization due process of law. They could deny groups equal protection of the law. They could quarter troops in any building owned by a group (including a Quaker Meeting House). etc. etc. etc. Have you had enough of the absurdity?

And the SCOTUS properly ruled that the government may not restrict that right from groups of individuals (however organized) any more than they can restrict it for an individual unless (as in an individual crying "fire" in a crowded theater) there is a compelling public interest and need to do so. The justices were, in fact, unanimous in so finding. Where the majority and minority split was on whether there was a "compelling" public interest.

For a President to harangue and demonize a Court over such a fine and arguable legal distinction (and confound separate expenditures with political contributions not to mention throwing in the total red herring of foreign influence) smacks of despotism and violation of the spirit of the separation of powers (which explains his ad lib demurral in that regard…perhaps a pang of conscience?).

When asked what form of government the Constitutional Convention had given us, Franklin responded: "A republic, if you can keep it." Had the incoherent idiot, Bush, mistated both the details of this case and the provisions of the Constitution so badly, he could perhaps be forgiven. But what excuse is there for an ostensible "Constitutional scholar" to have done so? Even tricky Dick Nixon had more respect for the Constitution than that.

The argument that we be extremely reticent in equating any sort of political speech to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, seems compelling. I would go further to suggest that such an equation is both false and malicious. None of us knows when we will be the goose and when we will be the gander. So let us be conscientious in sparing the sauce.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | March 15, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If the public opinion polls show 80% are opposed to the recent decision, it is because the purveyors of the news have MISINFORMED the public about the facts of the case and about what was overturned. These same news outlets and cable networks want to block other corporations from exercising freedoms of speech or of the press.

To be brief, it was not 100 years of judicial rulings that were overturned, but a law passed in 2002. And corporations were not granted some new legal standing -- they have possessed this standing since at least 1819, and probably for one or two centuries before that in common law. One might even go back to Roman law in the early centuries of the Christian era for instances where groups or organizations were recognized as legal entities.

Posted by: JBaustian | March 15, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Some say that only God can create life. Well, the Supreme Court has just changed all that since now, anybody with a hundred bucks can now effectively start a "life" -- since a corporation now has constitutional rights recognized heretofore only only for living and breathing humans. And, the Court had the audacity to reverse a hundred years of precedent (abandoning stare decisis) so it could engage in such mammoth judicial legislating. Moreover, it did this horrible act as dicta, meaning such judicial legislating was unnecessary to the questions raised by the parties and case; these judicial activists on the Court initiated the issues themselves before announcing the game-changing rule. Stunning! This is judicial legislation at its worst. This decision is such a mammoth travesty that it will probably be viewed as ridiculous as the Dred Scott decision that ruled Africans who were brought to this country as slaves were not citizens who were protected by our system of laws. Obama's measured criticism of the Court was restrained and appropriate (too muted if you ask me). Add to this judicial travesty their public attacks of Obama's measure criticism, and it's clear that Roberts and Alito are completely out of line. In fact, their judicial activism demonstrates such a lack of judicial restraint and incredibly poor judgment they must be viewed as nothing more than political hacks. These are exactly the kind of judges that like to stop elections to make sure the buffon that supports their corporate positions (e.g. GW Bush) prevails. Impeachment sounds like our only possible remedy.

Posted by: law1 | March 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The executive, legislative and judicial branches of government must remain with their powers as defined by our founding fathers, in order for this nation to survive!
Limit the powers or authority of the supreme court, and we will have the president and congress act as a dictatorship. No way must this happen!
As long as the people have the right to vote we can control this relationship.
I would agree that there should be term limits for the supreme court, as we MUST eventually have term limits for ALL members of congress.
Will legislation be passed for this to occur? I doubt that we will see this in our lifetime.
Let's not forget that in FDR's term of presidency, communication was not as advanced as it is today. A big factor in keeping the public informed on all matters.
Now if only we had more "transparency" in government and all legislation, that this president promised us, possibly there may be hope for this nation to be united in lieu of the polarization that exists today!

Posted by: SeniorVet | March 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

dougmatt is correct. Anyone who has not read the ruling has no idea what they are talking about. Virtually all the info available through the MSM is BS.
The ruling upheld freedom of speech and gave a swift kick to governmental regulation/interference of this fundamental right.
If you believe that's wrong move somewhere like North Korea.

Posted by: meand2 | March 15, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Well now, look at all these strict constructionists and friends of stare decisis coming out of the woodwork here!

I would wager that they have no problem with an elastic Constitution when the elasticity is being employed by creative jurists on behalf of rights (never specified or even imagined by the framers) that you look upon favorably. Was your fine sense of stare decisis offended when the SCOTUS overturned Plessy v. Ferguson? When the Court overreached the issue before it to promulgate Roe v. Wade did you have a Constitutional kerfluffle? I'll bet not. You stood and cheered and asked for more.

So when you then object to elasticity on behalf of the unbridled exercise of free speech, you are engaging in hypocrisy. And you can quibble all you want about what is and what is not a "compelling public interest" but the principle at issue will not change or be evaded in that fashion in any logical principled mind.

Which means that you will continue to prattle your nonsense...lacking both logic or principle.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | March 15, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who was upset about Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" should be upset about Obama criticizing the SC during the State of the Union. He can certainly disagree with the campaign finance decision but this was really just petulant, schoolyard taunting. He was taking advantage of one of the few times he would have all of the justices sitting in front of him but during the speech, they are not permitted to respond. Obama's lack of decorum disrespects the institutions, Office of the President and the Supreme Court.

Posted by: bjwl43 | March 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

While the decision may lack popularity, it is not a galvanizing decision, like Roe, that can mobilize the population in a political way.

At least, that's how I see it.

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 15, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

----------

Really? REALLY? You actually think this issue is not galvanizing? Really. There are more than 80% of the public OPPOSED to this new ruling of letting a corporation be a person and far less than half of the public are opposed to Roe v. Wade, even though far more personally would not make use of an abortion.

To anyone other than a rightwing nutjob, the ramifications of giving a corporation or foreign country for that matter (don't think it won't happen!), the right to politically taint our elections is blasphemous. Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves as the three stooges posing as SCJOTUS and their two lackies SCJOTUS have done the unthinkable.

The SCOTUS' next act: giving voting rights to any corporation or foreign country. So much for immigration when all you have to do is become a corporation and you then get all the rights of a citizen.

Really. These right wing lunatic SCJOTUS need to be impeached. Or at least declared incompetent and insane.

Posted by: mgirl | March 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Another time and place.

The president can say anything he wants to say anytime, as can any of us. It is called freedom.

However, we could hope that our president would act and speak with discretion. His State of the Union address was not the time and place to criticize the Supreme Court. It was rude. It was out of order and very demeaning. He had a captive audience cheering and the Supreme Court members by tradition had to sit still quietly.

Obama was wrong. Joe Wilson, earlier, was wrong. Civility needs to return to Washington and the nation at large.

Posted by: Kansas28 | March 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It is entirely appropriate for Obama to criticize the Court's opinion. While the Court is indeed the final arbiter of the Constitution, our system of government provides checks on judicial power. The amendment process and in some cases ordinary legislation can mitigate or reverse the Court's decisions. I think it is fair to say that Citizens United will increase corporate influence, though it is hard to see how much. The decision overturned a century's worth of precedent and Obama and Congress, acting in the interest of the people (80% oppose the decision), are right in seeking legislative remedies. I do think Roberts is right, the justices probably shouldnt be at the State of the Union address. John Marshall, I believe, even stopped voting once he landed on the Court; he wanted to maintain his independence. Rosen's take on the matter, in spite of the 1937 typo, is the correct interpretation....

Posted by: darwinsbulldog | March 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The "Supremes" did a supreme injustice to this nation and the world when they selected Bush to the presidency, maybe Justice Roberts is right they should not be present at the president's Oath after all he does not know the words and apparantly nor its meaning.
The men and women in black have once more committed another injustice and an unjustifiable decision which the president is right in calling on them even when they have no opportuinity to, unless one is named Alito, to refute the president in a very undiplomatic un pporly matter.

Posted by: postDC | March 15, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is correct in taking on the Supreme Court which has earned out disrepect by the string of activist, unprincipled, overtly political, conservative decisions since it became the Roberts Court. Justice Roberts who claimed in the confirmation hearing to respect precedent and to unite the Court has done just the opposite with activist decisions in for example : the partial birth abortion case ( Gonzales v, Carhart), the school busing cases ( Seattle and Louisville) , the New Haven equal protection case ( Ricci), the DC gun case ( Heller) and the corporate political contribution case ( Citizens United)and many others. All of these cases involved overturning precedents and were decided by 5-4 decisions. While it may be too early to "pack the Court", the conservative majority is on notice that continued disregard for precedents and principles will be dealt with.

Posted by: cstern1 | March 15, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before but it bears repeating here....Chief Justice Roberts and the conservative right colleagues must either thicken their skin or retire. It was the dream of an inept President that placed him where he sits, and now he's gone. The country will never return to the Bush Era for many reasons, chief among them was the fiasco he left our financial system in because of lax regulatory checks...or none at all. What makes these dictatorial conservatives think they could escape criticism for the most regressive ruling since "The Decider" announced the war was over! Corruption is alive and well...in the court system no less.

Posted by: moonglowsun | March 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Roberts is a Prima Dona. When you willingly do something so idiotic, you need to develop thick skin because the criticism will come. OR...retire!

Posted by: moonglowsun | March 15, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

bama will blast any body that don,t bow down to him

Posted by: mahye1935 | March 15, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

SINCE THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION, THE POLICIES OF THE GOP HAVE BEEN A PRO CORPORATE, PRO WEALTHY, PRO AGGRESSIVE FOREIGN POLICY. ALL OF THIS ACTIVITY HAS LED TO THE SHRINKING OF THE MIDDLE CLASS.
IT IS THIS MIDDLE CLASS THAT SEEMS TO BE THE WATCH DOGS OF THIS DEMOCRACY.
WITH THE SUPREME COURT PASSING LAWS THAT ALLOW FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS TO PURCHASE ELECTED OFFICIALS AND NOW CHIEF JUSTICE THOMAS'S WIFE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF LEGISLATION FOR WHICH WE COULD SAY HE WAS THE DECIDING VOTE, SHOULD MAKE EVERY AMERICAN OUTRAGED OVER THIS ACTION AND TO QUESTION THE MOTIVATION OF THIS COURT WHICH DECIDED THE ELECTION OF 2000, WHICH LEAD TO OUR PRESENT WARS AND FINANCIAL PREDICAMENTS. WE ARE PAYING DEARLY FOR THESE DECISIONS WHICH WERE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
MOST OF US DO NOT KNOW CONSTITUTIONAL LAW BUT OUR PRESIDENT DOES. HE ALSO SEEMS SMARTER THAN THE CHIEF JUSTICE.
STAY TUNED.

Posted by: sm98yth | March 16, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

The United States Supreme Court needed a reprimand from our highest elected official for their irresponsible action regarding campaign financing. The Court is currently "packed", thanks to the Bush Administrations, and it needs "unpacking". It is, at present, a contributor to the disfunction of American Democracy, and a sad example to the rest of the world.

Posted by: insidewa | March 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

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