This morning, the Boston Globe scolded three justices of the United States Supreme Court for skipping the State of the Union address. They found it troubling that they would “politicize” the event by their absence, and said that they should have demonstrated their non-partisan nature by attending.
What was most remarkable was what the Globe chose to downplay — what happened last year that prompted them to find somewhere else to go.
Obama is in no position to complain, because his scolding of the court
last year over its campaign-finance decision was rude and self-serving.
He, too, deserves some blame for politicizing the court. But he’s a
Obama didn’t just “scold” the court. He took the opportunity to lambaste them over a decision in a venue where he knew that not only would they not be able to speak back to him, but no one else, could on their behalf. And, worse, he did so by lying. His attack on the Citizens United decision was utterly false.
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. I don’t think American
elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or
worse, by foreign entities. 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.
As Justice Alito muttered at the time (and was roundly criticized for doing even that), “that’s not true.” Foreign donations have always been illegal, and the Citizens United case did nothing to change that.
And yes, I said “lie.” I will not give Obama the benefit of the doubt and let him plead ignorance. Not only was he an alleged Constitutional scholar, but his own campaign had gotten considerable grief about accepting foreign donations — including five figures worth from three Palestinian brothers living in the Gaza Strip. And quite a few other donations raised red flags, as they were for very odd amounts — usually in random cents — which strongly indicated they had been converted from foreign currency. So if anyone ought to know the law regarding foreign campaign contributions, it ought to be the guy who apparently benefited from schemes to subvert the law to accept them.
So last year the Court had to not only sit there and take Obama lying about them to their faces, but be pilloried by Obama’s lackeys and loyalists for actually being surprised and reacting with disbelief. With no guarantees that it wouldn’t happen again this year (and no reason to believe any they might have been given), the surprising thing isn’t that three Justices — the three most likely to be singled out for special criticism from Obama — chose not to attend.
What is surprising that the other four Justices (excluding the two who owe their jobs to Obama) did show up.