First, there was Samuel Alito mouthing “Not true” at the State of the Union after President Barack Obama was more than clear about his displeasure of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling.
And then this week Chief Justice John Roberts traveled to the University of Alabama to tell the students there that Obama making those remarks at the State of the Union while the justices had to sit there “expressionless” was “very troubling.”
It’s an odd back and forth, and one you do not usually see between the normally private and staid justices and the office of the President. Or so most of us thought.
When Jake Tapper, hosting ABC’s This Week, asked Obama advisor David Axelrod about the propriety of Obama’s State of the Union remarks, Axelrod told of the seriously tough criticism President Theodore Roosevelt doled out to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Axelrod could not help himself from noting that John Roberts, “a student of history,” might be interested in the story.
Axelrod on This Week: You know, if [Roberts] looks back 100 years, Theodore Roosevelt said of Oliver Wendell Holmes after he made a decision on an antitrust case that he didn’t believe in, that Roosevelt thought was a bad decision, he said, I could carve out of a banana a judge with a stronger spine than him. So things have been said about justices by presidents in the past that were far more personal than anything the president said here.
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