If the latest news coming out of the Supreme Court is any indication, President Obama needs a quick lesson on how to win friends or it won’t be long before it is only him and his teleprompter at the next State of the Union address. This week, Justice Samuel Alito, a man that I will admit that I fell slightly in love with during the last State of the Union, declared that he would most likely not be attending the next State of the Union due to political awkwardness.
If you are one of the few that didn’t tune in during that memorable moment in history and happened to miss this little gem, take a few seconds and watch Justice Alito’s reaction to President Obama’s accusation in the middle of his speech. It was his own, “you lie” moment.
The AP writes on the situation:
The 60-year-old justice, an appointee of President George W. Bush, acknowledged with a smile that his colleagues “who are more disciplined refrain from manifesting any emotion or opinion whatsoever.”
Alito, answering questions following a speech Wednesday at the conservative Manhattan Institute in New York, also said, “Presidents will fake you out.” The institute provided an online video link to Alito’s talk and question-and-answer session.
The president will begin a sentence with an invocation of the country’s greatness, Alito said. If justices don’t jump up and applaud, “you look very unpatriotic,” he said.
But, Alito continued, then the president may finish the thought by adding “because we’re conducting a surge in Iraq or because we’re enacting health care reform.” Justices aren’t supposed to react to statements about policy or politics.
The better course, Alito said, is to follow the example of more experienced justices like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and the recently retired John Paul Stevens. None has attended in several years.
I honestly enjoy the State of the Union addresses. Obviously, depending who is presenting it at the time, it either fires me up with excitement or anger- but regardless, I become quite high-spirited. It’s an intense speech, full of partisanship, and watching the reaction from Congress on both sides of the aisle is pretty entertaining. However, I can also imagine having to be in the position of a Supreme Court Justice, someone having to maintain a non-partisanship face throughout the speech, and knowing that the President was overstepping his boundaries and violating your space of judicial law, would take an incredible amount of discipline.
The Supreme Court is another branch of our government and it serves the purpose of checks and balance to Congress and our President. The President and the Congress serve a role and it should never be a bully to the Supreme Court, nor should the State of the Union address be used as a bully pulpit for decisions made by the Supreme Court. They are separate branches of government and neither holds power over the other. This only goes to prove that President Obama either doesn’t understand the appropriate use of these branches of power or doesn’t respect it. My guess is, he’s a smart man, it couldn’t be ignorance. Which could only mean he needs a massive lesson in R-E-S-P-E-C-T.