Barack Obama | News | Samuel Alito | Supreme Court

Obama Gives Supreme Court Public Spanking; Alito Mouths 'Not True'


One of Obama's better moments last night came at the expense of the Supreme Court, whom he reprimanded for its decision on corporate spending limits in elections. Conservative judge Samuel Alito (far left) could be seen scowling, shaking his head in defiance, mouthing "not true." The Joe Wilson moment of the speech?


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  1. what a douche. was his wife sitting behind him, gently weeping?

    Posted by: m | Jan 28, 2010 7:22:15 AM

  2. Where are the rest of the justices? Clarence Thomas couldn't roll his bigot butt into the capitol?

    Posted by: KFLO | Jan 28, 2010 7:41:12 AM

  3. I think this may be even more troubling and offensive than Joe Wilson. The Supreme Court is supposed to show NO hint of bias, one way or the other at State of the Union addresses. They aren't supposed to clap or show any sign of opinion about anything the President says.

    This was a major breech of SCOTUS protocol and decorum and it was a display that this conservative court doesn't even care to give the pretense of being unbiased.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2010 8:03:01 AM

  4. I wonder which Corporate pocket he's in?

    Posted by: John Normile | Jan 28, 2010 8:35:12 AM

  5. I found it a little too pleasurable seeing the crushed looks in the eyes of several of the justices... espcially Sotomayor, who has the MOST riding on her decisions.

    Posted by: Patrick | Jan 28, 2010 8:37:28 AM

  6. Call me crazy, but I've never noticed that they attend SOTU's. Could I really have missed that all these years, or was this a command performance for exactly these comments?

    Posted by: stephen | Jan 28, 2010 8:39:52 AM

  7. While I think the recent Supreme Court decision is a terrible idea -- I don't think the Court made the wrong decision. Given that corporations have been granted personhood, I don't see how the Court could have decided otherwise. The Court is not the avenue to create policy; it's the avenue to enforce policy. What we need to do is pass reform that takes away Corporate Personhood. Then the Court can limit how much a corporation can contribute, because at that point it's no longer Freedom of Speech.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Jan 28, 2010 8:42:14 AM

  8. I was wondering who the woman was who look like a Parisian lesbian c1932 in a coat and tie... any ideas? She's kind of hot

    Posted by: ER | Jan 28, 2010 8:59:12 AM

  9. Former law professor Obama was incorrect in stating foreign corporations cannot influence elections, the statutes that restrict foreign nationals and foreign corporations from contributing monies were not overturned by the Supreme Court in that decision

    As NDT pointed-out at Gaypatriot;
    The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election” under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any “expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication… .”

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Jan 28, 2010 9:02:14 AM

  10. Unfortunately, it really doesn't matter either way. Obama has no power to in any way alter this disastrous opinion.

    Posted by: Distingue Traces | Jan 28, 2010 9:12:22 AM

  11. Ted:

    Please tell me which of the major American corporations don't have a huge presence in other countries. How do we define "foreign corporation", when I'd imagine most multi-national businesses have, at least in part, foreign ownership/investment.

    It was a terrible decision by the SCOTUS.

    Posted by: G | Jan 28, 2010 9:13:01 AM

  12. Alito is scum --- of course he would lie on camera

    Posted by: Walter | Jan 28, 2010 9:39:45 AM

  13. ...Id like the DOJ to investigate the SC, and see IF any of the Justices who rules in favor of that LOUSY decision have somehow - found themselves with ALOT more Money $$$, or a secret account somewhere.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jan 28, 2010 10:13:04 AM

  14. While I generally disagree with SCOTUS' view on this issue, I think Obama is wrong to assume what the ramifications are of the decision. Personally I wish rather than asking for a law or laws to overturn the decision, he had simply said they needed to address the issue. I believe that corporations should have free speech...I think Scalia's argument on this point makes total sense. I do not however agree with prior court rulings that money = speech. I think Congress should have every right ot restrict individual and corporate involvement in campaign contributions. Which, according to most legal scholars, is still the case. Corporations can be capped on their campaign contributions just like individuals. If Congress wanted, they could make the limit $2,200 just like they do for us.

    Posted by: Bizzle | Jan 28, 2010 10:13:59 AM

  15. Are you sure Alito mouthed "not true"? I could have sworn he mouthed "for sale."

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jan 28, 2010 10:15:46 AM

  16. Did anyone else notice that the "Parisian lesbian" leaned forward and looked DIRECTLY at Sotomayor when O called out the court in a VERY protective way.

    it's at 21 seconds and it's not subtle

    Posted by: Christopher | Jan 28, 2010 10:19:37 AM

  17. Alito and Roberts are just lucky they're not getting their asses impeached for lying at confirmation about their "strict constructionism". More like "slack pocket-liningism".

    Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 28, 2010 10:24:53 AM

  18. We have separation of powers for a reason, I'm sure this intimidation tactic will not go unnoticed by all the justices. It's not clear how they will react though. Obama might have intimidated them into submission, or simply made them angry. Bad move either way.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 28, 2010 10:59:19 AM


    The purpose of that protocol is so that SC justices don't reveal their position on (hypothetical) forthcoming cases. Obama was directly commenting on a case just decided - a case that Alito, having already voted on, had clearly expressed his opinion on. While I strongly disagree with his stance on the issue, I don't see it as a breech of decorum.

    Posted by: grimwig | Jan 28, 2010 11:53:49 AM

  20. @Bizzle: How do you know the caps are not the next thing to go? They could easily be ruled a limitation on free speech.

    Corporations & "Non-profits" + unlimited spending = hell on earth (at least around campaign season)

    Posted by: Frozen North | Jan 28, 2010 1:35:36 PM

  21. @Mike-B
    Bingo. That's thinking like a judge. The solution is to remove corporate personhood. Congress? Hello?

    Posted by: jjasonham | Jan 28, 2010 1:52:03 PM

  22. i'm with TAMPAZEKE -- this was a much more serious and substantive breach than wilson's. the court is supposed to be apolitical. that's one of the reasons that they get lifetime appointments. when alito reacted to obama's comments about the effects of the decision, he appeared to be political. and the court has recently been especially sensitive to that charge after its decision in bush v. gore.

    @KFLO --

    there's no need for any justices to attend. the state of the union is required by the constitution, and is technically between the president and congress. justices are permitted, and given front row seating, as a matter of courtesy. i believe justice breyer never attended a SOTU, at least in part because he thought sitting reactionless for an hour was pretty tedious.

    the official word on scalia and thomas is that because the SOTU was scheduled during a court recess and the date just recently announced, they had already made out-of-town plans.

    Posted by: bored lawyer | Jan 28, 2010 2:15:06 PM

  23. The supreme court upheld the constitution in their decision to overturn the corporate donations to elections law. We might not all agree with it, but the law did nothing more than force corporations AND UNIONS to hide behind 527 groups. At least now we know who is making the donations. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the special interest money the McCain-Feingold law prohibited was only coming from one side of the aisle. A lot of the comments thus far have been very ignorant in regard to knowledge of what the ruling actual said, as well as the history of the campaign finance reform movement. I suggest you look it up instead of repeating what you've heard on Olberman or Maddow. Finally, it was wrong of Alito to react in the way he did. It was beneath his position to do that in such a public way. It was also extremely tacky and classless for Obama to pinpoint his criticism of them in a joint session of congress. That part of his speech was definitely beneath the office of POTUS. All around not a very good moment for America in general.

    Posted by: Josh | Jan 28, 2010 3:43:22 PM

  24. he shook his head and said "That's not true"

    Posted by: lipreader | Jan 28, 2010 4:37:51 PM

  25. What was funny, was the entire Congress stood applauding Obama's dis. Even funnier, you know that most of them will run to whatever corporation they can now for money.

    Posted by: CB | Jan 28, 2010 5:10:05 PM

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