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No sympathy for Chief Justice Roberts

I find it hard to summon up much sympathy for justices of the Supreme Court who feel so put upon attending the State of the Union. Are they so out of touch that they can’t realize, much less appreciate, their opportunity to have a front-row seat to history? Or does having a lifetime appointment entitle you to be churlish?

My colleague, Eva Rodriguez, suggested that justices scalp their seats if they don’t want to go to the State of the Union. It’s a playful suggestion, but one that underscores the pettiness of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. when he complained, “I’m not sure why we’re there.” Who would not want to be there? I would give a lot to be able to sit in the capitol and listen to the president – and, no, I wouldn’t care if I didn’t vote for him.

Moreover, are we really to think that Supreme Court justices are so delicate that they can’t withstand the partisan displays that have become customary at these events? Have none of them gone to a sporting event where they cheered for the visiting team?

And I actually think it is a good thing that the justices -- now and again -- be reminded of the impacts their decisions have. No, I don’t want the Supreme Court to rule according to what will get them applause, but I do want justices who won’t flinch in the face of pushback.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | March 10, 2010; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Comments

A front row seat to history? Please! As Justice Roberts said the State of the Union has become a big political pep rally where the the President gives a big politial speech, mostly about himself, and members of his party jump up and slavishly applaude every utterance that comes out of his mouth. I doubt very seriously if Obma's remarks directly critizing the Supreme Court basically to their face, which they couldn't respond to, hurt Justice Roberts feelings. However it was it did exhibit a lack of decorum. Course Obama and his fellow Democrats have never worried too much about decorum.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 10, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

A front row seat to history? Pleaaase. It's theatre and nothing more.

And speaking of "churlish", that aptly describes Obama's behavior toward the justices during the SOTUA.

Posted by: stratman1 | March 10, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Course Obama and his fellow Democrats have never worried too much about decorum."

Did Cheney care about decorum when he told Leahy to f off on the floor of the Senate? Did you feel the same about that incident? Of course not. You are undoubtedly two faced . . . .

Posted by: jvlem | March 10, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Roberts was right when he said the State of Union is too political now; but he's way late spotting it. It's been a pile of throw away applause lines for years. When it went to the fancy two person (had to have BOTH Repubs and Dems) shout out the president was coming, I knew it was way overblown. Historically, this was a report to Congress. What the heck are the Chiefs of Staff and The Supremes doing there anyway? I challenge anyone to think of anything meaningful actually said about the state of the union, during the state of the union speech.

Posted by: southVAHmptn | March 10, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

If anything is too political, it's the right-wing judicial opinions of John Roberts. Talk about a lack of decorum!

Posted by: uh_huhh | March 10, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

There is no "decorum" in calling out a BAD decision such as that one.

In my personal view I would have chastised them for the entire State of the Union and then some- that's how BAD that decision is.

Roberts needs to grow up if he believes that the justices are above or beyond petty politics and criticism.

Posted by: dcperspective | March 10, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Roberts flat out lied during his confirmation hearings. He said he would respect prescient in deciding cases, then overthrew 100 years of such in deciding corporations were people. Roberts is lucky he is not impeached.

Posted by: igsoper | March 10, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Its pretty obvious that Jo-Anne would royally covet having that seat, so she can drool and pant over her idol Obama. The problem is she would break every camera lens in the room if she did have a prominent seat like that. Woof!

Posted by: alutz08 | March 10, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Roberts insults American jurisprudence. The only thing about the man that is supreme is his pettiness. He still needs to grow up.

Posted by: sgtpepper2 | March 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the President was flinching more from the actions of the court, than the Justices. Remember these are supposed to be 3 separate branches that keep each other in check.

Also remember, that the primary cause of the Court's decision came when McCain and Fools-gold presented their bill, that did nothing to pull big money out of politics. All it did was enable these 529s, PACs, and other so-called non profit community organizations to collect and distribute political $$. If you really want to take money out of politics, then cancel EVERY GROUP CONTRIBUTION. Let it be only the individuals of the country that can make donations and those donations should be capped per year. No exceptions, no $10,000 a plate dinners, no nothing.

That way you keep things clean so Streisand, Danny Glover, et al cannot sway politicians more than the person who watches their movies.

Posted by: alutz08 | March 10, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to break your bubble.... but if you go to any fact check site on the state of the union, you will find that Obama was not correct when he said the Supreme Court overturned 100+ years of precedent.

Get your facts straight and stop repeating the garbage that comes out of Obama and his parrot Gibbs' mouths.

Posted by: alutz08 | March 10, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

What would the Chief Justice have said had a president in a State of the Union speech referred to the "Plessy vs. Ferguson" case (in the late 1800's which established the doctrine of "separate but equal" facilities for whites and blacks) as a racist, evil and totally misguided decision that would "leave a long and bitter legacy". Would the justice have accused the president of "playing politics"? Would the vast numbers of white Americans who would have rushed to the Court's defense have accurately reflected the truth or the (lack of same) of the president's criticism? The Court has delivered a verdict that will undoubtedly have a major impact on our system of elections, almost all bad. If any of the justices who voted for this disaster can't stand criticism, they ought to call in sick.

Posted by: spectre11 | March 10, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I suggest that if the venue is not to the Chief Justice's liking, he take his ball and go home. The President's statement admonishing the Court is nothing new in the SOTU. President Reagan did it several times, as did both Roosevelts and others. If Mr. Roberts doesn't want to participate in such a tawdry process, he always has the option of staying home.

Posted by: jaydobbs | March 10, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder whether Justice Roberts would have had the same response if he had been praised for an opinion. Most decisions are not unanimous and justices write opinions on both sides. Essentially, both praise and criticism of any decision is bound to irk a subset of justices. I agree, SOTU speeches are largely ideologic and political peptalks. Freedom of Speech allows the president to give his opinions. The same Freedom of Speech allows Justice Roberts to sit it out and not attend. As long as he sits out every SOTU from now on for both parties, then it's not an political statement on his part.

Posted by: Rogie | March 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Chief Justice Roberts is right when he criticizes Obama as the State of the Union speech has turned into a pep rally for the party in executive power. I would prefer to see nine empty seats rather than the six filled who actually attend this farce.

Posted by: drprescription | March 10, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

alutz, considering that Teddy Roosevelt believed that corporations did not deserve the same rights as people and courts at the time agreed, I'd say Obama was pretty well correct in saying "100 years." As for Roberts, he's a hypocrit who told the Senate he respected prior rulings, but immediately started overturning prior rulings. The Sc is an equal branch of the government. If the president and congress can get criticized, so can the Court. I mean, Justice Stevens ripped the court ruling from his seat. So why not the president?

Posted by: mikel7 | March 10, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the term, Justice Roberts should insist on reading from the bench extended criticism of Obama's policy failures. Obama can then play the stoic and pretend not to notice.

Posted by: stratman1 | March 10, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

There were nine justices in attendence, not just Roberts. Almost half of those black-cloaked judges listening to the SOTUA agree with Obama. Justice Stevens wrote a scathing 90-page dissent joined by three other justices.

Treating corporate free speech the same as that afforded to an individual is ludicrous. This activist decision led by Roberts overruled two precedents regarding corporate First Amendment rights, set back campaign finance reform, and opened the floodgates to corporate influence in Washington.

That, my friends IS the state of this Union.

Posted by: cmelmiller | March 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

How did Armao get this job? Is this supposed to be a thought out well argued opinion piece? Since when is the SOTU "history" besides the fact that it occurs annually. It has been, for ages, an event where the President lays out a pie in the sky "agenda" with plenty of applause lines for which his party can give standing ovations and cheers. The vast majority of the "agenda" never sees the light of day. The whole thing is basically a backslapping see and be seen event celebrated by the political establishment then in power. If Armao is that goo goo eyed regarding this supposed "historical" event, then she should talk to some well connected staffer so that she may attend and join those standing ovations - I can't see how it would be that hard. Or better yet, get into an exclusive party operative's SOTU party (there are plenty around the District the night of the event), and hobnob with the "A list" set. From experience, there is at least plenty of good food and drink at such affairs. As to Justice Roberts and President Obama, I think the criticism of the Court in the SOTU was ill advised, just as I think the Court decision was not a good one. The President has plenty of opportunities to critique the decision in other venues. Also, it is quite disingenuous for the President to deride "special interest" influence and money in Washington that will be caused by this decision, when he and his compatriots wallow freely in the same. Since when are ATLA, unions, and the like not "special interests". Furthermore, which candidate turned down public money during the last campaign? Finally, if anyone thinks that Democrats don't take corporate money, or any other "special interest" money just as Republicans do, then you are living in a utopian dream world totally disconnected from reality.

Posted by: fwillyhess | March 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Chief Justice Roberts' lament is akin to finding fault with the Pope for leading a liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica. So what's his point?

Posted by: cue13 | March 10, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse


Well, in the 19th Century, a president didn't deliver a State of the Union address. He sent an annual report to Congress where it was read by a clerk. So it wasn't the occasion for political theater and campaigning it has become since the advent of radio and especially television.

The only reason to attend a SOTU address these days is to reconfirm Jay Leno's observation that “Politics is just show business for ugly people.”

spectre11 posted:

"What would the Chief Justice have said had a president in a State of the Union speech referred to the "Plessy vs. Ferguson" case (in the late 1800's which established the doctrine of "separate but equal" facilities for whites and blacks) as a racist, evil and totally misguided decision that would "leave a long and bitter legacy". Would the justice have accused the president of "playing politics"?"

Posted by: WylieD | March 10, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Courts are where disputes end up that would either become Hatfield-McCoy vengeance fests or tear civil society apart were the courts not there, and not regarded by all players as reasonably fair arbitrers who get the final say.

My reading of the Chief Justice's remarks is as a lament that the nation's chief executive would so openly undermine popular respect for the independence and fairness of the judiciary.

Though I'm an Obama for President voter likely to repeat the act in 2012, on this matter I'm with the Chief Justice.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | March 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Of course the SOU speech is a political rally. But why does Injustice Roberts wait until the first black president is in office to make the point? He had other opportunities in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to make the claim. But he didn't. Why? Because he is a racist no-good pig and as such, has no place on our Court. Yes, our Court.

Posted by: fudador | March 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Roberts is an activist. He's just working his side of the isle. The guy can't even read a simple excerpt from the constitution (article II, section I - oath of office) without trying to revise it.

Posted by: ArtHorizon | March 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

BTW supreme court is not above politics. The reasoning from rightwing justices is always partisan. Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas don't act their stature. Repugnant republicans are always partisan and clueless democrats go bipartisan.

Posted by: Realist17 | March 10, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

“I’m not sure why we’re there.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr


ALL RIGHT, IF YOU DON'T KNOW MR. ROBERTS; ITS CALLED SOCIALIZING AT LEAST. NOW, IF YOU DON'T WANNA BE THERE, FINE.....................PLEASE, DON'T BE THERE, BUT WE DO NOT NEED SMART A.S.S JUDGES LIKE YOURSELF. YOU CAN BE DECENT IF YOU ARE THERE OR IF YOU ARE NOT THERE, BUT I AM SURE YOUR COLLEGUES WILL BE THERE NO MATTER HOW WEIRD YOU FEEL, HECK, MAYBE YOU NEED HELP, CAUSE ITS JUST WEIRD FOR JUSTICE TO COME OUT LIKE THIS.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | March 10, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

What would the Chief Justice have said had a president in a State of the Union speech referred to the "Plessy vs. Ferguson" case (in the late 1800's which established the doctrine of "separate but equal" facilities for whites and blacks) as a racist, evil and totally misguided decision that would "leave a long and bitter legacy".....

======

That's too ironic to pass up. Essentially the President castigated the Supremes for overturning precedent much like the Supreme Court did in Brown (which essentially ended separate but equal). Is he saying that the court can't overturn bad precedent (like many in this forum)? Of course they can, and did.

Posted by: robert17 | March 10, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

So let me get the Republican talking points straight

Why is it a 'State of the Union' speech when a President criticized Lemon vs. Kurtzman (school prayer) or Roe vs. Wade (reproductive rights) with members of the Supreme Court present
BUT
When a President criticized CitizensUnited vs. FEC (corporate funding elections) with members of the Supreme Court present it is a 'pep rally'?

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | March 10, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama sounded like a churl, except of course working with his hands like a real man is beneath him, so he's not even that. He tends to make a lot of classless, juvenile comments.

Posted by: EowynR | March 10, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course, everyone overlooks that President Reagan took the Supreme Court to task in State of the Union addresses, on Roe v. Wade and on the school prayer decision. Or is that somehow different?

Posted by: vklip1 | March 10, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

It is amusing listening to wingnuts try to lecture Americans on proper political decorum.

Posted by: orange3 | March 10, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Fine, then when the the Justices shake their heads to an obvious inaccuracy in the President's public in your face attack on them in the speech, can we please have the politicians and the talking heads say nothing about it?

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 10, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Gracefulboomer wrote:


So let me get the Republican talking points straight

Why is it a 'State of the Union' speech when a President criticized Lemon vs. Kurtzman (school prayer) or Roe vs. Wade (reproductive rights) with members of the Supreme Court present
BUT
When a President criticized CitizensUnited vs. FEC (corporate funding elections) with members of the Supreme Court present it is a 'pep rally'?
--------------------------------------------


Excellent, excellent!!! Well said! I agree. Such hypocrisy.

Posted by: briandvdsavage | March 10, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

This is the transcript of what the President said in that speech concerning the Supreme Court:
"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections."

In fact, the attack was based on a falsehood. The restrictions against foreign corporations participating in our elections still stands.

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 10, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

What's funny here is that, as a Senator, Obama liked Roberts and wanted to vote for Roberts and was on his way to doing so until his staff informed him that it was a bad idea.

Roberts needs to understand he's out of politics. Politicians can say what they wish but Supremes shouldn't say anything that undermines the Court and Roberts has certainly undermined the authority of Court and the entire system with his words of late.

Posted by: fratricide08 | March 10, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

"If anything is too political, it's the right-wing judicial opinions of John Roberts. Talk about a lack of decorum!"

AMEN!!! I might also add that Roberts IS churlish.

Posted by: jgwlaw | March 10, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Petty? Petty is what this blog is. Chief Justice Roberts is being completely reasonable when he says whats the point of us showing up to the State of the Union. Obama has nerve... separation of powers... I respect the fact that Scalia doesn't even bother showing up anymore... Who wouldnt want to be there, theres no difference between that and going to a comedy at the movie theaters...

Posted by: Bennehana | March 10, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Entirely agree. Pres Obama highlighted the absolute foolishness of the "Roberts" Court decision. If the Court was publicly knocked down a huge peg by its decision, it needed to be. The founding fathers never exempted the Supreme Court from being the subject of freedom of speech.

Posted by: dudh | March 10, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

No mention by the distinguished Chief Justice of any partisan distress during the Bush years where he was in the audience, having been confirmed in 2005. I rather suspect that this odd petulance is a coarse signal otherwise best dismissed for what it is: childish sanctimony.

Posted by: vintage51 | March 10, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

You know, one branch of government told another branch to their collective faces they did a lousy job. At least it was up front. As far as being political, please, Mr. Chief Justice, since when aren't Court decisions political? I mean go back to the beginning with Marbury v. Madison--didn't Marshall stick it to Jefferson or did I miss something? Get a grip! What in the world did you all expect when you literally open the floodgates to special interest money in campaigns! I'm glad the Executive Branch is looking out for regular people because lately, the Supreme Court isn't. NRCornell

Posted by: nrcornell | March 10, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

There were nine justices in attendence, not just Roberts. Almost half of those black-cloaked judges listening to the SOTUA agree with Obama. Justice Stevens wrote a scathing 90-page dissent joined by three other justices.

Treating corporate free speech the same as that afforded to an individual is ludicrous. This activist decision led by Roberts overruled two precedents regarding corporate First Amendment rights, set back campaign finance reform, and opened the floodgates to corporate influence in Washington.

That, my friends IS the state of this Union.

Posted by: cmelmiller | March 10, 2010 7:13 PM
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There were only six justices in attendence. Scalia, Stevens and Thomas do not attend SOUA's of either party. After Obama's petulent rant I think Roberts is seeing the wisdom of their actions.

If Obama doesn't like the decision all he has to do is have his party's lawmakers write a law that is Constitutional.

Just because some think a law is a good idea at a point in time doesn't make it Constitutional. Otherwise, as referenced by others, Plessy vs Ferguson could still be the law-of-the-land.

Posted by: danoh50 | March 10, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Roberts doesn't know why he's at the State of the Union? Quite frankly many of the American people don't know why he is the Chief Justice of the Supreme court, or even why he is in the Supreme court at all. If it wasn't for a misfit President appointing him and a go-a-long Senate confirming him, He'd be sitting on some company's Board of Directors.

Posted by: sunrise2 | March 11, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

John Roberts is a duochebaig.

Posted by: angelos_peter | March 11, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Good article.

Posted by: paris1969 | March 11, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

This is why Roberts was a poor choice. He's far too used to acting like a prince. So much so that he just doesn't get it about being the nominal head of a co-equal branch of the government. He's really kind of missing some self-awareness that's pretty critical, this is the illustrative of that gaping ignorance on his part.

Posted by: Nymous | March 11, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Maybe there is something to this. If the tradition goes back to the early days of the Union, I could see it being supporting the common cause of America and its well being. Even if Roberts does not want to be a partisan cheerleader and is not accountable to voters like the legislature he should show respect for the country he serves by attending.

Posted by: joshmw | March 11, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Roberts and his gang of five are intellectually dishonest political hacks who carry on a campaign of judicial activism to advance their right-wing indeologies. He should expect flack; he should get flack. We need to examine conflicts of interest on the Court to see if any of the gang of five could be impeached.

Posted by: dolph924 | March 11, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes smart people say dumb things, and a Supreme Court Judge ought to probably keep his mouth shut. If the President has the biggest bully pulpit and knows how to wield a megaphone, that is, after all expected political speech. The role of the Supreme Court at the President's State of the Union may not be cheering, but it might be nominally supportive of democracy. That is, everyone in the chamber bears witness to our national speech. If our public servants, turn a deaf ear to political speech, then why would anyone choose to vote, pay taxes, volunteer for military service, etc? The Chief Justice is in a leadership position, no?

Posted by: rmorris391 | March 11, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is one of those Supreme Court judges that thinks because the word "Supreme" goes with his title, he believes he is a supreme being. Quite frankly, Roberts is the reason why I don't think Supreme Court Justices should remain in office for life. Roberts is an egomaniac who feels this country should be ruled by plutocrats like himself. People like Roberts are harmful to any democracy and as long he remains in office, he will continue to cause harm and be a threat to to the basic foundation of this country.

Posted by: fridaolay | March 11, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Loved your piece Jo-Ann. "Churlish" indeed. Looking forward to more of your thoughts.

Respectfully,

F.M.

Posted by: Felipe_M | March 11, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

John Roberts isn't just lucky he got to watch the SOTU in person - he should count his lucky stars that his face is obscure enough that he can walk down the street without getting spit on. 80% of the public is appalled at his court's ruling that our democracy be put up for the highest bid from corporate interests (as if they didn't have enough influence already). He's taken the country back a century.

He is an enemy of the state, and by rights should be in Guantanamo. He has done FAR more damage to this country than any one Al Qaida operative possibly could.

Posted by: B2O2 | March 11, 2010 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, c'mon, another article written by an Obamabot.

The President used the sacred State of the Union address to lambast the Supreme Court (which was planned), and one justice privately mouthed discontent (which was not planned), and you bash the justice.

Your President is a demagogue and a tyrant, and if any on the Supreme Court stand in opposition to him, this only shows their courage and integrity.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | March 11, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

If roberts can't handle being there, maybe he should have a position more suited to his psyche. Like working at a build-a-bear store. Wait, bad idea, a kid might call him a booger-brain, and roberts will BAWWWWWWWL.

Posted by: privacy3 | March 11, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

I could care less about Justice Roberts pettiness, he lied his way to his appointment, what even happened to "stare decisis" his is the most activist SCOTUS in decades. The decison at the heart of this has done one thing it has made bi-partisianship popular again, Congress is actually looking at how they can make laws cutting the legs out from under the Corporations are people to and can donate unlimited funds to political campaigns, wny? People are limited to the amount they can contribute so why not companies? The SCOTUS has made corporations super citizens and has for the first time in a century mande it legal for companies to attempt to buy elections, was this in the best interest of the average American? No plain and simple the republicans bemoaned asctivist courts and it turns out they have given the nation the most powerful, and most activist court ever and the only ones that can control them is Congress the 9 Justices are not above the rest of us, they at one time were us, maybe it is time theyhad their pedestals knocked out from under them and they were reminded they are just 9 Americans entrusted with immense power, but they can go down in the history books as the people that crowned Geoerge W Bush President over the will of the people, that made Microsoft the most powerful political force in the world, and protected Xe from murder charges and endorsed torture as a quaint American custom despite decades of it being an international crime and protecting the likes of Dick Cheney, Yoo, Bybee, secret prisons is this what John Roberts wants his court to be remembered for the court that destroyed the history of Numerberg.

Posted by: mikey30919 | March 11, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

Chief Justice Roberts is your classical affirmative action baby of the worst kind: WASP, ivy league conservative elitist that grew up with a sense of entitlement in segregated neighbourhoods. He was appointed for no other reason than for his political views and for the Republican desire to shift the SCOTUS permanently to the right.

For a SCOTUS chief justice to complain publicly about being invited to witness the most important event of the government speaks volumes of his character and his disrespect for the American traditions and political institutions. He certainly didn't complain to hear W's SOTN address. All of the 4 right wing justices belong in a Pinochet courthouse, not the US of A.

Posted by: mtlyorel | March 11, 2010 3:26 AM | Report abuse

RobT

YOU LIE! Is that decorum enough for you? Kindly, tell that childish bunk to Kurt Gorman, Jihad Jane cutie pie. Grow up, if you defend a confederate tea bagger you will hug Jihad Jane and buy her a beer. She is a good old girl. Yea right

Posted by: nateminor | March 11, 2010 3:38 AM | Report abuse

"Witness to history!"???

What kind of girlish nonsense is that?!

These are adults not Redskins fans. It sounds like you need to grow up and try talking to Ms. Manners about the expectation of civility to learn why your darling obama was in the error.

Posted by: familynet | March 11, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

and you make number 2, whos writting about this tomorrow, eugene...
the justices are independent of the legislative and executive branch...
they don't have to attend and hope next year they skip the event and go out and have a nice dinner...
nobody, and I mean nobody have to put up with any nonsense from the president...
we all have choices...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 11, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Who is it that forces Mr. Roberts to attend the State of the Union? If he doesn't like being there, he can just stay in his palatial residence and pout. His sense of entitlement is matched only by his rampant self-importance.

Posted by: nicekid | March 11, 2010 3:55 AM | Report abuse


Gee, I must have misunderstood. When Justice Roberts said: “I’m not sure why we’re there.", I thought he was talking about the Supreme Court. . .

Posted by: kenhyde | March 11, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

If anything is too political it's the U.S. Supreme Court, starting with its decision to seat Bush and its appointment of Roberts who carries more water for the corporate party than he does for the country.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 11, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

I liked Obama's reference to the Supreme Court decision because it WAS a bad decision. That is a fact.

As to the criticism of Obama that pervades some of these comments let me state that only one of extremely limited mental ability would fail to realize that, even at this early point of his presidency, Obama is an infinitely better president that either Bush (Worst president ever) and Reagan. Those, too, are the facts.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | March 11, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Impeach Roberts!

Posted by: Bugs222 | March 11, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

And the Supreme Court isn't political? It gave the Presidency to the Republicans. And it has now sold all future elections to the corporations with the most money and influence. In my opinion, the Court is rampant with neocon lunacy. Wake up.

Posted by: mradams | March 11, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Stop whining, Roberts. Try to concentrate instead on not being a judicial activist. You are far from the modest jurist you (mis)represented yourself to be during your confirmation hearings.

Posted by: Jaz1 | March 11, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, at least Roberts and I agree on one thing: We're both not sure why he's there. Roberts and his other four partners in crime made a strictly political decision in giving corporations the same rights as individuals and, unless they're stupid, knew exactly what they were doing. Their decision was a direct attack on the Constitution and the citizens of this country. They should all be tried for treason, retired and sent to prison to contemplate their misdeeds with only the Constitution as reading material. If their behavior is good, maybe we'll also provide them with a copy of the Declaration of Independence to read on holidays. Idiots all.

Posted by: Byrd3 | March 11, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse


Obama disgraced the Congressional branch of government by using it's podium as a bully pulpit against the 3rd branch of government......and the Congressional sheep gave him a standing ovation for that? Talk about identifying with the aggressor..... Obama AND Congress are totally lacking in respect and manners...

He showed not only his true hateful personality, but that of Congress as well.

No common good for America can be achieved by this kind of behavior...they will continue to live in the moral cesspool they have created until we relieve them of their duties.

Voter RECONCILIATION day is coming, in November 2010 !


Posted by: DiscerningCitizen | March 11, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I guess Jo-Ann Armao doesn't comprehend the idea behind "State of the Union". It the time for the POTUS to address to the people of the state of affairs of this country. It is not a time to take a pot-shot at the Supreme Court Justices for doing their job.

nyrunner101 - I fail to recognize how UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION is a bad decision. The supreme court is not for legislating - but for protecting the constitution. If you don't like that they FOLLOW THE RULES laid out in the constitution, take action to change the rules and pass an amendment to the constitution.

Secondly, if the POTUS wishes to criticise the findings of the supreme court, please have the courage to do so in a forum where they can respond - as in an open debate. To use the SotU address to deliver a sucker-punch shows the lack of respect the POTUS has for this country and its history.

Posted by: Disbelief | March 11, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The interesting thing about all this is that Obama is so thin skinned that he feels compelled to rebut every challenge to his "authority." Many years ago I learned a lesson from a former supervisor who was loath by many, and both Obama Haters and Obama Lovers should learn this lesson too. He said: " I"m not as bad as some of my enemies say, and I'm not as good as I think I am."

Posted by: Paaa | March 11, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Is this because Roberts doesn't want to see the SCOTUS mixing with a bunch of political hacks? Oh, wait, the SCOTUS itself IS infested with political hacks . . . like Roberts.

Posted by: scientist1 | March 11, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Justice Roberts has a very large ego, imagine not just nominated, but to Chief Justice with no SC experience!
His decision is so ridiculous, ok let anyone with enough money buy any politician they want.
Corporations and special interests do not have the rights of private citizens, Sheran Anti-Trust, and many other laws point this out perfectly. Term limits for SC judges also, along with both houses of Congress

Posted by: rosenfan1 | March 11, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The interesting thing about all this is that Obama is so thin skinned that he feels compelled to rebut every challenge to his "authority." Many years ago I learned a lesson from a former supervisor who was loath by many, and both Obama Haters and Obama Lovers should learn this lesson too. He said: " I"m not as bad as some of my enemies say, and I'm not as good as I think I am."

Posted by: Paaa | March 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The justices already have a front seat to history...it's called the Supreme Court. Having them sit there expressionless during the State of the Union serves no point.

Posted by: wolfcastle | March 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Justice Roberts: Guess what - you are a POLITICAL appointment. You were appointed. If you were so above politics than perhaps you should have said "No Thank You". He is not in an elected position. The President of the United States is. He should get over it since 81% of the people do NOT like this decision.

Posted by: Julescator | March 11, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Court held that Americans acting together through a corporation or other type of group enjoy the same free speech rights that they enjoy individually. Noting that wealthy individuals can spend unlimited money on election ads for radio and television, the Court held that ordinary individuals could likewise pool their money together to engage in the same type of speech, striking down a federal law that made such corporate action a felony.
The president deceived the American people to saying anything to the contrary. Either President Obama did this intentionally, in which case he must be called on it by the American people, or his team inserted this patently-false statement into the speech, in which case heads should roll both in his communications office and the White House counsel’s office.

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Posted by: sfhgfjhgkdgjhgkdh | March 11, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I have a lot more pity for Chief Justice Roberts than I'll ever have for Obama and Pelosi

Posted by: liberalsareblind | March 11, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Why do they have lifetime appointments? Roberts is an example of someone who should be there for a limited time.

Posted by: clairevb | March 11, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

These justices have nobody to blame but themselves for voting not on merits, but on political beliefs. They put GWB in office on a party line vote in which his party showed they only favor states' rights over a federal solution when it hurts people like in health care. They want that federal power when it helps them.

And it continues to this day when they have allowed unlimited political contributions. I believe the founding fathers would have cringed to have seen them equate money with free speech. Yet they will claim they follow original intent.

In short, Roberts is reeping what he sowed.

Posted by: TomfromNJ1 | March 11, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse


What is troubling is that Roberts appears to want to engage in a political battle apart from his role as a judge....and he appears to be a cry baby....

Posted by: josephfranklyn | March 11, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is a whiner, like all the Republicans. What emanates from Republicans these days is nothing but a long sustained whine. Complaints, complaints, and cries of victimhood.

If Roberts can't stand of his and his colleagues right-wing, activist, decisions, he is free to resign.

The latest Roberts' whine is an argument in favor of doing away with life tenure for the SCTUS judges.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | March 11, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I am thrilled that Chief Justice Roberts spoke out about Obama's disrespectful behavior.

The founders created separation of powers for a reason. We have living proof (Barack Hussein Obama) of why.

Posted by: thinker16 | March 11, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is a public servant and should be at the SOTU, not hiding out in his ivory tower with his corporate masters. His horrendous, over-reaching opinion is worthy of the criticism is has received from both parties. If he's that unhappy, he should resign and not whine

Posted by: hockeymom1 | March 11, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Daily, we as an American people debate and sound off about the President (Obama or Bush) and both parties in congress. They have thick skins and shoul dbe held accountable. No less should be asked of the Surpreme Court. Obama is not "churlish" or "an egomaniac", he called bad judicial policy what it is, bad judicial policy. Countless Americans and legistators felt a chill when the court gave such access to corporations and he had every right to do so. I do not agree Reagan, but he had every right to criticize Lemon vs. Kurtzman (school prayer) or Roe vs. Wade (reproductive rights) with members of the Supreme Court present. We may not like the policy on either side of the policital spectrum, but as president, he has the right to call the mout, just as many presidents to against congress (as they watch) concering not passing bills, etc. Same difference. Please don;t bring emotion or policical interests into the picture.

Posted by: cadam72 | March 11, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

If Obama can shake his finger at the Supreme Court during his address, I think its OK for Joe Wilson to call Obama a liar. What happen to Obama's promise that we were all going to get along? Another lie?

Posted by: 45upnorth | March 11, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Mr Roberts does not need your sympathy. He is only stating the facts. If it is ok to disrespect the Supreme Court then it is ok to tell the President that he is a liar.

Posted by: rvoller369 | March 11, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

For once I agree with this person.

Posted by: davidsawh | March 11, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Please spare us your liberal spin and show just a little respect, we know how hard it is for you liberal ideologues to do that and how you love to trash anyone(Sarah Palin)who doesn't line up with your Utopian fantasy world view.Very dark times.Pretty bad for Obama and company to try to humiliate a sovereign branch of are government for the whole world to see.What was even worse was Durban, schumer, and harry leaning over and clapping in the justices ear and that smug arrogant look on their faces the American people have been so accustomed to seeing.The whole thing was despicable,and if I were them, I would never give these jokers the time of day by showing up at these circuses.Hey Obama,in the TWENTY YEARS you attended Mr 'God damn america'rev wrongs Church,did he ever take the time to mentioned or teach Pro 16:18 Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall..........A long long fall.

Posted by: votingrevolution | March 11, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

It's our own fault, we should have seen this coming: how could we actually believe that Bush/Rove/Delay/Limburgh era court appointees would be any different than the hacks that appointed them in the first place?

And Chief Justice Roberts - you work for me, so sit down and shut up. Do us all a favor and resign already? Or are you a typical Republican conservative hack - likes to talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | March 11, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The supreme court (no, they do NOT deserve capitals) is one reason many do not trust or respect the judicial system from the top down.

So now a corporation is the same as a living, breathing, individual human being - since when? Political activism at its finest - or worst. Makes you wonder what incentives were given to these so-called justices.

No one forces these justices to be at the State of the Union addresses. If they don't like the administration, then stay away. And if they can't stand the heat, then far away is where they should be.

Posted by: Utahreb | March 11, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Roberts' blatant partisanship is an affront to his office. He does not deserve it -- he hardly has a 'judicial temperament' -- more like a toddler's.

He's stamping his feet and whining--disgusting.

Posted by: drindl | March 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

That display of calling out the Supreme Court in front of all the world who were watching based on a falsehood that Obama stated was a most disgusting display of using the bully pulpit to bully I have seen. Well, maybe the dems in attendance standing up surrounding them and cheering against them was worse. Or maybe the media's drooling and tripping all over themselves to turn this into an issue about the Supreme Court all the while forgetting that Obama based that attack on a lie might be just as bad.
I would suggest all the Supreme Court members next time stay home. The SOTU speech is nothing more than politics and seeing that Presidential display of rudeness means let the House and Senate sit there and act like trained seals jumping up and down at will and looking like fools.

Posted by: justmyvoice | March 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

For anyone who thinks the supreme court is above comment, I have two words for you.

Dredd Scott.

(from Wikipedia)
red Scott v. Sandford,[1] 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), commonly referred to as The Dred Scott Decision, was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants[2]—whether or not they were slaves—were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.

What? No, "that's not true"?????

Posted by: steve82 | March 11, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is right, and courageous to say what he did. Many Democrats are starting to understand that Obama is as bad for them as he is for the rest of the country. Hopefully, we'll get some more balance into government with this years elections.

Posted by: hill_marty | March 11, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Attorneys control our White House, the Legislature and the Judicial in America-one Profession. Therefore, he has absolutely no meed for prudence about whining and engaging the Presidency publicly-the claws are beginning to show behind that innocent smile; very improper.

Posted by: lionelroger | March 11, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if you would have reached the same conclusion if it were January of 1955 and a hypothetical Southern President had gone out of his way in his SOTU to challenge the Supreme Court on Brown vs. Board of Education -- another decision that was deeply unpopular at the time, and to be honest, one that required a lot more of a Constitutional stretch than the campaign finance ruling (which part of "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" is in any way ambiguous?).

The big question here is the extent to which the executive, legislative, and judicial bodies need to respect and defer to each other as each does its job. If Obama is going to pick a public fight with the Supreme Court about a decision it made -- and, by most scholarly accounts, mischaracterize that decision in the process -- do you want Supreme Court justices picking public fights with the Administration about health care or the environment? Pretty fair to say that would be a total, total mess.

Posted by: GCinCC | March 11, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Chief Justice Roberts knows that his far wiser predecessor Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes argued forcefully that law *is* politics. It was called "legal realism" in your con law class, Justice Roberts. The campaign finance decision, expanding the personhood of corporations well beyond the commercial personhood they already enjoyed, was thoroughly political. It was not a decision that made conceptual sense, and not only the President, but all of us, have every right to criticize that decision. And to criticize it to your face if we have the opportunity. What Hamilton called the "least dangerous branch" of gvernment--the judiciary--has become the most dangerous branch, as Alexander Bickel predicted many years ago, because its countermajoritarian scope has the potential for undermining democracy. Back to Bickel!

Posted by: douard1 | March 11, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Apparently Justice Roberts wants the Supreme Court to remain in their underground bunker, detached from reality. He does not like to step out of his “bubble” and into the real world. I guess it is OK for FDR, Ike, and Reagan to ask Congress to respond to court actions but not Obama. Why?

Posted by: milanojf | March 11, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow why don't we just do away with the separation of powers and annoint Obama ruler for life? (in case you missed it that was sarcasm). There is a reason justices are appointed for life so that they are not subject to the petty politics that plague both the legislative and executive branches. Calling them out the way Obama did at the State of the (dis)Union was petty and uncalled for.

Posted by: jmanarin | March 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

SCOTUS needs to be exposed to reality from time to time. The State of the Union speech is a good opportunity for that to occur. Trashing stare decisis to advance their ideological agenda does not make Roberts and friends popular in all quarters. And, Clarence Thomas wants further protection from the nasty people he serves by doing away with oral presentations to the court.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | March 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I know two things:

1. Republicans whine a lot (see these forum comments for numerous examples)

2. Justice Roberts is a Republican, and therefore whining is in his nature

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | March 11, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"State of the Union has become a big political pep rally"

Much hue and cry over nothing.

Oh yes lets run around like little children crying over spilled milk.

Real grown-ups know that the State of The Union Address has ALWAYS been a dog-and-pony show. ALWAYS.

Cut the crap and grow up.

Posted by: frantaylor | March 11, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

These guys have black-robe disease. In a nutshell, they can dish it out but they can't take it.

Posted by: douglassforgan | March 11, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Just one more thing Shrub left us with. A radical Supreme Court that sold our country to the highest bidding company, foreign or domestic. Chief Justice Roberts and his fellow conservatives were wrong on this ruling, and have shown what "activist judges" really look like.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | March 11, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Roberts has a right to say the President was wrong. My only problem is he says somethng publicly about a month after the event. Most Americans had forgotten it by now, and don't really care. Why wait a month? Maybe he's just used to taking awhile to give an opinion, but what he said could have been said right afterwards. To bring it up a month later just seems weird to me.

Posted by: mbcullen | March 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Let us not forget - the president is required to deliver a State of the Union message to CONGRESS, The Supreme Court is only invited out of a sense of courtesy!
Obama with his insensitive and uncouth manner let us see behing his curtain of ineptness!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | March 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao, obviously one of Obama's sycophants, missed the point. Obama's comments on the Court's ruling were completely out of bounds.It wasn't a Democratic fund raiser nor was it a WH dinner. He may not agree with how they rule but that was not the forum in which to childishly kvetch like the Chicago community organizer he really is. I favor the idea of a judicial boycott of next year's speech.

Posted by: 1republican | March 11, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Roberts needs to be chided by our 7th President ,old Andy Jackson. He would then experience a stinging rebuke of the first order and enforcing his own decisions might soon be in the offing.

Posted by: flcat | March 11, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

arn't the justices of the supreme court supposed to be apolitical? so just how is it then that if Obama criticizes a SC ruling it is a polical attack. The reson, of course is that under Roberts the SC is just another wing of the GOP and any criticism of the GOP idiology is seen by him as a poliical attack on him. The man is a GOP hack - that is all.

Posted by: sux123 | March 11, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Chief Justice roberts is correct in speaking out aganist the lack of decorum Ms Aramo support of such displays makes us wonder if the W-P will suport other means to coherce those it disagrees with into silence. Ms Aramo freedom of expression is not just for you and those you agree with.

Posted by: joeO2 | March 11, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

First, the new media loves a good fight, so they are blowing this up into the latest donnybrook, distracting all of you from what is really important.

Second. Yesterday in this space I went to great lengths to show that civility between the branches has not always been a smooth thing. Not going to do that again but I would ask all of you to google John Marshal, Roger B. Taney as well as FDR Court Packing. It is ludicrous to say that the supreme court deserves deference. You could say the same thing about the president but I'm not seeing it from right wing posters, the media or congress for that matter.

Just because the justices wear long black robes, it is not necessary to see them as unassailable oracles of the law. The right wanted to impeach Earl Warren throughout his entire term. Obama has as much right to criticize the court as any citizen and he is not setting up anything "disturbing" by doing so. What is truly disturbing is the direction of the court led by this wilting flower of a chief justice. If he can't take the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen and oh yes, sit down and shut up, that will certainly add to the decorum..

Posted by: robertmerry | March 11, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

In Response to RealTexan1:

Not so sure you are a real Texan. C'mon, a tyrant? Well, what was George W.Bush then? I think he was Hitler reincarnated. Then again, I am sure you think he was the best president to ever be in power. Bush should have been impeached for violating the law, lying, and spying on American's.

Roberts argured before the Supreme Court to get the voting stopped in Florida. Then, as payment, Bush gave him the Chief's seat. Talk about political. I would prefer my democracy rather than the facist theocracy of Robert's and Bush.

"Oh, c'mon, another article written by an Obamabot.

The President used the sacred State of the Union address to lambast the Supreme Court (which was planned), and one justice privately mouthed discontent (which was not planned), and you bash the justice.

Your President is a demagogue and a tyrant, and if any on the Supreme Court stand in opposition to him, this only shows their courage and integrity."

Posted by: geoffryh | March 11, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Roberts and the rest of his gang of Five Injustices are about as political as you can get. Handing the 2000 election over to Bush in a fraudulent power grab by conservatives (by cutting off the Florida recount), to denying citizens the right to know who Dick Cheney brought in for his energy consultations (his no-bid contract buddies from Halliburton) to this latest decision that corporations are people (good lets send them to jail then) and can directly campaign via media for candidates. So much for the individuals voice with Roberts and this Supreme Court. These guys are wards of the corporations and about as political as you can get. They certainly are not even handed justices.

Posted by: Poleman | March 11, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Roberts and his gang of the Five Injustices have proven themselves to be anything but judicial in the political court decisions they have handed down. From giving Bush the election by their insupportable Florida intervention (admittedly Roberts was not on hand for that) to handing our election campaigns over to the corporations that feed the cronies of these Supreme Pigs -- it is clear that Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy are political hacks and not practicioners of Juris Prudence.

Posted by: Poleman | March 11, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I believe Roberts has technically prejudiced himself in many future court cases by taking a public stand on a documented moment in history. He has now left himself open to many and countless challenges to his lack of neutrality and quite possibly to now unabashed bias.

Obama's remark was legitimate with apology. Decorum was maintained. If decorum was disturbed it was by Alito failing to restrain himself properly.

If there was a pep rally misusing a vaulted public stage it was when the supreme court succumbed to political pressure and contorted all logical English by claiming corporations (inanimate legal entities) are synonymous with persons (biologically living beings).

Roberts has cheapened himself and his position beyond possible repair.

Posted by: aorj | March 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If Roberts feels it's fine to get out and speak about the Court, the President and rulings in a public forum, as a sitting Chief Justice, then perhaps we should be able to see the Court as it holds the hearings that affect each and every one of us.
Televise the Court for the common ggod.

Posted by: ripper368 | March 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

My colleague, Eva Rodriguez, suggested that justices scalp their seats if they don’t want to go to the State of the Union. It’s a playful suggestion, but one that underscores the pettiness of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. when he complained, “I’m not sure why we’re there.” Who would not want to be there? I would give a lot to be able to sit in the capitol and listen to the president – and, no, I wouldn’t care if I didn’t vote for him.

***********************************************************************************************************************

Just state the obvious already; only 20% of the population doesn't understand it already. Bush politicized every nook and cranny of the gov't. The reason he doesn't want to be there is because Obama is not a Neocon hack. This means Roberts can't stand to be in the same room as our President.....he's a walking definition of sour grapes and some of the recent rulings from the SCotUS have been indicative of this partisan mindset.

The whole point of "judge for life" was to have people who could rise above partisan bickering as they never faced re-election. The founders didn't take into account hacks like Roberts who put their politics above Constitutional Law. Back then there was an emphasis on integrity and professionalism which has been completely lost by the right wing.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The concept of class and decorum is now dead . . too bad I don't think we are better for it.

Posted by: sarno | March 11, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

If this or any Supreme Court was truly A political there would be no problem. But it is all too true that the Supreme Court is all about politics, every party tries to stack it to their own advantage.

Posted by: Billy1932 | March 11, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

When you ignor precedent and decide a question that WAS NOT EVEN BEFORE THE COURT in order to serve your corporate masters, as Robert, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy did, you deserve more than criticism, you deserve impeachment. It is now abundantly clear that Roberts and Alito lied during their confirmation hearings when they claimed to be something other than the overreaching, activist judicial legislators that they are. One more point, Obama's Constitutional analysis was correct, while Alito and Roberts were wrong. But, of course, they got their positions through affirmative action for corporate tools, so you can't expect much in the form of intelligent anaysis.

Posted by: mcstowy | March 11, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is a politician and an ideologue. Indeed, all members of the Federalist society are ideologues. Their views prop up the corporate elite. However, this is legal. A politician who can't be criticized? No, Mr. Chief Justice, you have consistently voted to advance the corporate domination of America. Expect lots of criticism.

Now, about the State of the Union Speech. It's a joke, a media event that benefits only the pundits who are paid to make comments after it's over. There is no reason to have it and no reason for anyone to attend or watch it.

Posted by: bobsnodgrass | March 11, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

BOO HOO John Roberts. What is truly troubling is the radical shift to the extreme right in the SCOTUS. This shift has been brought by - John Roberts and his side kick Sam Alito! OH WHAT A SURPRISE. Both long time members of the ultra secret Federalist Society, they share a vision of the USA in which all power is held by the corporate/state to which the individual citizen is subservient. That is how they consistently rule, and that is FASCISM.

Posted by: db11232 | March 11, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

igsoper,
You don't know what you're talking about. The decision addresses a specific provision of campaign finance law created by McCain/Feingold. Educate yourself before you spout off.

Posted by: BlueIguana | March 11, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama sounded like a churl, except of course working with his hands like a real man is beneath him, so he's not even that. He tends to make a lot of classless, juvenile comments.

Posted by: EowynR
______________

What?? Where did this bit of hostility come from? Has Justice Roberts worked with his hands? You think GWB worked with his because he used a chain saw to cut some brush for a few photogs?

Dude, vent your anger at the therapist's office not on a blog.

I wonder if you thought GWB congratulating a woman for working three jobs and still not being able to support her family was a bit churlish?

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to the Republicans to whine about manners and salad forks rather than pay attention to the huge INJUSTICE perpetrated by the "supremes" with this ruling.

This corporate handout will go down in our history as one of the most shameful decisions ever by the court. But at least this one wasn't racist in nature......if over 80% of America can actually agree on how terrible this was you know it's even worse than the polls.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 11, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe that Justice Roberts criticized the President for what was said, even though it appears that President Obama mis-stated the Court's decision; he criticized the atmosphere in which it was done having cheering democrats applauding the President's faulty criticism in an effort to embarass the Court. The Court members present were being isolated and ridiculed--a familiar tactic of the Alinsky method.

I believe all monies from foreign sources should be banned, whether from anonymous contributors in small amounts, or large amounts from corporations. In each case it amounts to foreign involvement designed to influence U.S. elections.

Posted by: CalP | March 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is whining. He stepped over the line in to politics. The purpose of a lifetime appointment was to not have judicial partisanship slink in. Well, Roberts blew that.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Chief Justice roberts is correct in speaking out aganist the lack of decorum Ms Aramo support of such displays makes us wonder if the W-P will suport other means to coherce those it disagrees with into silence. Ms Aramo freedom of expression is not just for you and those you agree with.

Posted by: joeO2
__________________

Joe, this simply cannot go by without challenge.

You talk about the lack of decorum Mr. Obama exercised and then say that Justice Roberts' similar lack of decorum is acceptable because of free speech. Apparently that free speech does not apply to our President.

Were you as outraged when Joe Wilson defied decorum and called the President a liar during a televised speech?

Were you as outraged when the Vice President of the United State, Mr. Cheney, told a Senator to go frack (I've cleaned up the language) himself on the Senate floor?

Sir, voicing an opinion about a SCOTUS decision that affects us all is not lack of decorum. Nothing in our Consititution says the Executive must agree with the Judicial.

Calling someone a liar or using profanity in a professional setting is a lack of decorum. I hope that clears it up for you since, while your are not a liar and should not go frack yourself, your logic is severely lacking clarity.

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

If Roberts doesn't like the State of the Union speeches, let him stay home. His attendance isn't required. The Constitution, something Roberts appears to have only a passing acquaintance with, doesn't say the President has to give a report to the SCOTUS, only to Congress. Further, it's funny to think a Federal judge at any level would be upset at having to sit and be still while being lectured. Federal judges require that in their courts every single day and can enforce it with jailing and fines!

Posted by: mischanova | March 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey, CJ Roberts, can I give you a nice Kleenex (with aloe vera in it) to wipe your nose with? I imagine with all that sniveling, you've worn the skin right off it.

Posted by: JenAZ | March 11, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The President used the sacred State of the Union address to lambast the Supreme Court (which was planned), and one justice privately mouthed discontent (which was not planned), and you bash the justice.

Your President is a demagogue and a tyrant, and if any on the Supreme Court stand in opposition to him, this only shows their courage and integrity."

Posted by: geoffryh
_______________

Actually, the President used the SOTUA to lambast a decision made by the SCOTUS, not to lambast the SCOTUS.

If the Supremes are so sensitive that disagreement makes the President the tyrant perhaps they are in the wrong jobs.

The three branches of government are supposed to balance each other. That means one is supposed to keep the others from flying off the handle. Perhaps you should refer to your old civics school book, if you had a civics class.

The President rightly addressed the state of the union which is affected by the decisions passed by the SCOTUS. The Justice is simply whining.

Here's an old saw that has some truth: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The President used the sacred State of the Union address to lambast the Supreme Court (which was planned), and one justice privately mouthed discontent (which was not planned), and you bash the justice.

Your President is a demagogue and a tyrant, and if any on the Supreme Court stand in opposition to him, this only shows their courage and integrity."

Posted by: geoffryh
______________

And please, sir, there is nothing "sacred" about a SOTU address. You may wish to worship the government but many of us don't.

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Was shocked to hear Robert's comments. The Supreme court is the ultimate arbiter and should never be involved in political talk, like criticizing the President.

Robert has broken that rule that has existed for ever. He is too political and has undermined the highest court in the land. He should resign or face impeachment.

Posted by: ak1967 | March 11, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It's time for all court sessions of the supreme court to be televised like Congress.

Posted by: Emmetrope | March 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The comment regarding Chief Justice Roberts "should scalp his seat" is right on. That would also help him with his complaining that the salary isn't high enough. He knew what it was when the seat was offered to him and if he wasn't happy with it then, he sould have said NO.

Posted by: golfinggail | March 11, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Roberts is a whiner, plain and simple.

Posted by: Pheidole | March 11, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Can we return to the nature of the in your face attack on the Supreme Court in the SOTU address. The President clearly misrepresented the nature of the decision. Contrary to his remarks, the ban on foreign corporations participation in our electoral process still stands.

So, when invited to a speech and then subjected to scurrilous attack, the Justices should not respond, or not attend, which I believe is the gist of Justice Roberts' remarks.

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 11, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It shows cowardice to berate a group in front of the Nation knowing that they cannot respond. President Obama would never sit and take any criticism by a voter without being able to respond. I would like to see a monthly televised session in which the President, Vice President and leaders of the House and Senate would be required to listen to responsible concerns and opinions of voters. A session where it is up to the voter whether or not there question was answered to their satisfaction. I doubt that these employees of the American people have the guts.

Posted by: bobbo2 | March 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Having a front row seat for a speech is different from having the President of the United States critize you, and you have to just sit there while hundreds of others cheer him and yell at you. Doesn't sound appealing to me - but I don't like to be bullied.

Years from now, perhaps Obama will be on the Supreme Court - maybe Chief Justice. I don't think he'll like it either.

Posted by: WdbrgWanda | March 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The author says this:
"Are they so out of touch that they can’t realize, much less appreciate, their opportunity to have a front-row seat to history?"

Of course Jo-Ann Armao is correct.

How dare these ill-informed boors object to ill-informed, boorish attacks from THE ANOINTED ONE.

Posted by: spamsux1 | March 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

As between Obama's comments on recent Supreme Court holdings, and Robert's comments on Obama's comments, only one statement was misplaced.

The Supreme Court speaks through its decisions.

And while individual justices may hold individual opinions, to enter the political fray is a much graver transgression, than for the president to comment on a case holding.

Posted by: titfd | March 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The Chief Justice seems to be a whiner. What would be a more appropriate setting for the President to comment on what he believes was a badly reasoned court ruling than in his speech to Congress, the body that would have to consider new legislation to mitigate the impact of the court's decision. And it isn't as if no prior President has been critical of the court in that setting. Roberts needs to butch up when it comes to criticism.

And speaking of whiners, those posting here who complain about the State of the Union addressing become too political should get a grip. When wasn't it political? I've been listening to the addresses since the 1950s and nothing much has changed. I'm confident that even when the President sent a SOTU message to Congress, rather than making a speech, the message was drafted with political ends in mind. After all, the President and members of Congress hold political offices and have to consider the views and priorities of their political constituents -- the voters. The President is not a priest or a king responsible only to some higher authority, so of course there will be gambling at Rick's and politics in the U.S. government.

Posted by: jdnathan | March 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

State of the Union speeches are, if anything, grand political theatre. What's petty beyond boring is a Senate Confirmation Hearing for a Supreme.

Posted by: bn123 | March 11, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Robert's real problem with the State of the Union Address is that it lacks a
corporate sponsor.

Posted by: BaltimoreCotls59 | March 11, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

This article is nothing more than typical liberal left wing Democratic babble.Obama had "no" right to comment on any Supreme Court decision during his mindnumbing State of the Union speech.He was completely out of place and it only shows what an empty suit he really is.

Posted by: fcs25 | March 11, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

who IS this lady? she's talking as if roberts is questioning why justices attend simply because the president is of a different ideological persuasion than him.

the supreme court is supposed to be free of political pressures, and that is exactly was president obama brought to bear directly and rudely on them that night.

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

the justices werent flinching anymore than the president was. i would like a president and congress who do their jobs (legislating within the boundaries set by the supreme court) without whining and lashing out at the supreme court for making them do more than they'd like to.

the president is a baby and not very classy.

Posted by: dummypants | March 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

In fact, the attack was based on a falsehood. The restrictions against foreign corporations participating in our elections still stands.
===

Three words:

Wholly. Owned. Subsidiary.

Think EADS North America.

Posted by: mason08 | March 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course, everyone overlooks that President Reagan took the Supreme Court to task in State of the Union addresses, on Roe v. Wade and on the school prayer decision. Or is that somehow different?
***********

umm...well reagan was president 7 years after roe v. wade, so no they arent the same things at all. several of the justices who were on the supreme court werent even the ones who were involved in the roe decision.

also, obama was taking issue with a particular interpretation of the words of the constituion - where reasonable people could plausibly have different opinions. what's the point in that?

reagan was taking issue with a PREVIOUS supreme court's decision to invent a right out of whole cloth without ANY support WHATSOEVER in the text of the constitution.

reagan was taking issue with judicial abuse of power not a interpreation that he disagreed with.

Posted by: dummypants | March 11, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama had "no" right to comment on any Supreme Court decision during his mindnumbing State of the Union speech.He was completely out of place and it only shows what an empty suit he really is.

===

He has every right to ask Congress to fix a perceived problem created by the court's decision. Which is exactly what he did. Clearly, you didn't watch the address.

Whether Congress actually CAN remedy the issue in a way that will please this court is questionable.

Posted by: mason08 | March 11, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

What this country needs is for swine flu to claim Roberts, Scalia, Alito or Thomas. This court is chock full of right wing lunatics who are trying to drag the US back to the 19th century. Then Obama can appoint someone who understands the precedents and why they happened. The court long ago recognized the role big money plays in getting any idiot (see Bush) elected to serve their interests. All regulations designed to protect the people from lead and mercury in our air and water were nullified by airhead's admin in order to save companies the cost of disposing of toxic wastes properly. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Now let's kneel and worship at the altar of the dollar, the only thing that matters in to the polluters and wastrels.

Posted by: chopin224 | March 11, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

This article is nothing more than typical liberal left wing Democratic babble.Obama had "no" right to comment on any Supreme Court decision during his mindnumbing State of the Union speech.He was completely out of place and it only shows what an empty suit he really is.

Posted by: fcs25 |
==========================================
Ignorant as you appear to be of the Constitution, understand that it sets out Congressional methods to correct Supreme Court rulings Congress feels are in error, just as the SCOTUS corrects Congress and the Executive through rulings. Calling a ruling wrong and asking for legislative action is precisely what a President should do during the State of The Union address when faced with what he feels is an erroneous ruling. Considering the President is at least as conversant in Constitutional law as most of the SCOTUS (if not more than some, like Clarence Thomas), who better to take them to task? Time alone will tell which side is right on the question of foreign corporations, since most have subsidaries incorporated here, making them American by definition. Ask Faux News, owned by an Australian corporation.

Posted by: mischanova | March 11, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Ask Faux News, owned by an Australian corporation.

===

News Corp. reincorporated in Delaware in 2004. Prior to that, she was a South Australian.

Posted by: mason08 | March 11, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

A President is elected to represent all of the United States, not just the President's political party and its supporters. The Constitution requires the President to inform Congress of the State of the Union. Therefore, to me the bigger politicization problem is the relatively recent practice of television giving the minority party free national coverage to refute the President immediately following the President's address to Congress. If they are going to do that, they should give equal time to the majority party leader for a rebuttal.

In the country's early history, Presidents submitted the State of the Union message in writing, rather than in a speech. Thus, I don't think it would be wrong for the Justices to change their practice of attending. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong for the President to say an action of the Supreme court has had a negative impact on the State of the Union. His message is supposed to give his opinion of the State of the Union and his suggestions to Congress for improving it.

A clearly partisan political act that deserves criticism is Chief Justice Roberts illegally interjecting the U.S. Supreme Court into the 2004 election dispute over the State of Florida's selection of the electors to send to the Electoral College. Not only does the Constitution reserve disputes over electors to the States and the Congress, Roberts gave that election to the man who appointed him Chief Justice, a conflict of interest ethics issue. He deserved to be impeached for that. While thinking of impeachment, President Andrew Jackson should have been impeached for his failing to enforce the decision of the Supreme Court that Georgia's ethnic cleansing of its assimilated Cherokee Indians that resulted in the infamous "Trail of Tears."

Posted by: BTMPost | March 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama apologists, terrorist apologists... the roles of a liberal democrat from day to day. Subverting Freedom and Democracy one step at a time

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | March 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

How soon we forget. Roberts has been a partisan Republican all his life. He was a member of the Federalist Society and gave Ronald Reagan the green light for his so-called Unitary Executive method of governing.
Roberts also was a legal adviser to the Bush Florida Recount Team. If he were honest, he would have refused to allow Bush to nominate him to the court, since it was Roberts who gave Bush the legal advice that took Bush v. Gore to the Supreme Court in the first place. Roberts should just be thrilled he's got a job.

Posted by: redballoon | March 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Johnny, I'm so sorry your feelings were so hurt. If I were you I would resign immediately. Please resign immediately.

Posted by: makeitwright | March 11, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

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