I have a bone to pick with E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. Dionne recently published an opinion column in the Washington Post, criticizing Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito’s reaction to President Obama’s State Of The Union rebuke. Alito shaking his head back and forth and mouthing the words “not true” showed, according to Dionne, an “inability to restrain himself.”
Dionne claims that Alito’s reaction demonstrates that the Court is run by a “highly politicized conservative majority”. Further, he cites an anti-abortion editorial published and written in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan as a precedent that validates Obama coming down on the Court during a live world-wide telecast.
Dionne is wrong on all three counts of his Alito indictment.
Here’s Dionne’s story in its entirety:
“The nation owes a substantial debt to Justice Samuel Alito for his display of unhappiness over President Obama’s criticisms …
…Alito’s inability to restrain himself during the State of the Union address brought to wide attention a truth…: The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will…
Obama called the court on this, and Alito shook his head and apparently mouthed “not true.”… the honest reaction of a judicial activist who believes he has the obligation to impose his version of right reason on the rest of us…
… There is ample precedent for Obama’s firm but respectful rebuke of the court. I know of no one on the right who protested when President Ronald Reagan, in a 1983 article in the Human Life Review, took on the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 10 years earlier…”
The Supreme Court has always been highly politicized, whether leaning right or left. The Constitutional Framers deliberately created the situation in Article 2, Section 2, wherein they gave the President the authority to appoint the Justices.
Alito’s reaction can also be viewed as a genuinely involuntary response to a huge lie told by President Obama, who entirely misrepresented the nature and scope of the Court’s ruling. In view of the President’s mendacity, Alito actually showed great restraint.
Lastly, Ronald Reagan’s written publication about the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in no way equates to Obama’ bully pulpit criticism of the Court in full view of the entire world. These Justices had to sit and take it as the Left-Wing of the Congressional audience stood behind them and enthusiastically applauded their humiliation by the President.
Obama has a perfect right to criticize the Court’s decisions. He should have picked an appropriate venue in which to do it. What Obama did and how he did it was embarrassingly rude and tactless.
In typical Leftist media style, Dionne completely ignored that salient point.