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Sunday, January 31, 2010

David Axelrod criticizes Justice Alito

President Obama's Senior Adviser, David Axelrod, said he was not surprised by Justice Alito's response to Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court's recent decision that permits donations from corporations to political candidates essentially torpedoing campaign finance reform. Axelrod asserted that we have been accustomed to all kinds of "unusual outbursts." (Axelrod was also referring to Congressman Joe Wilson's "you lie" comment during Obama's last Congressional address) Because of this trend of "unusual outbursts," Axelrod maintains that it is no longer surprising when a politician reacts negatively to the President's speech.

Obama issued his criticism of the Supreme Court decision during his State of the Union Speech in the presence of the Supreme Court justices who were only a few yards away from him.

Obama stated:
"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections.  (Applause.)  I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.  (Applause.)  They should be decided by the American people.  And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems."

Apparently, Justice Alito who disagreed with the President's analysis of the decision, mouthed the words "not true" and appeared to be visibly upset by Obama's reference to the decision. Justice Alito took issue with Obama's statement that foreign corporations will now be allowed to donate to political candidates in the U.S.

Of course, the media including David Axelrod, are only  focusing on Justice Alito's response to Obama's criticism of the Supreme Court decision.  Axerlod is incorrectly insinuating that Alito's response is an unusual outburst in the same category as Joe Wilson's "you lie" comment. The truth is that Alito probably was so shocked that a President would criticize a Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union Speech.  Even so, he merely shook his head and did not interrupt the President's speech like Wilson did. The two instances are not comparable.

Regardless of how you feel about Justice Alito or the Supreme Court decision,  it was completely unprofessional and downright condescending for President Obama to criticize a Supreme Court decision in the presence of Supreme Court Justices.  Talking about an "unusual outburst." It was most unusual and unprecedented for a President to engage in such a course of action in a State of Union Speech. No other President has ever done such a thing before and the media has the audacity to focus on Alito's response and largely ignore whether it was appropriate for a President to attack Supreme Court Justices in their presence.

President Obama should issue an apology to the Supreme Court Justices and take responsibility for his actions.