In his State of the Union message, President Obama claimed the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United would “open the floodgates” for foreign companies to “spend without limit in our elections.” Justice Samuel Alito could be seen mouthing words and in particular, per Gerard Magliocca, the phrase “That’s not true”. For why he might have reacted that way, see Politifact “Truth-o-Meter”.
More from Randy Barnett at Politico:
In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.
The President also made an erroneous reference to “reversing a century of law”, which Linda Greenhouse corrects at the New York Times “Opinionator” blog.
And: Tony Mauro/NLJ, Ann Althouse. Althouse also notes that there’s a lesson for Citizen United critics in the ways Alito’s few seconds of silent protest upstaged the President: “It’s not how much or how loud you speak that counts, is it?” And Howard Wasserman at Prawfsblawg rounds up reactions on both sides from the perspective of a “somewhat-rare Democrat and Obama supporter who believes Citizens United was correctly decided.” And did the speech as delivered tone down rhetoric about Citizens United that had been distributed in printed versions?