Obama’s SotU speech: Why Alito said, “Not true”

From Obama’s speech:

It’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.

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.

Justice Alito mouthed “Not true” to that statement:

Bradley Smith explains why the President is wrong:

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, “open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

The president’s statement is false.

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 ather 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… .”

This is either blithering ignorance of the law, or demogoguery of the worst kind.

It was certainly unexpected (to borrow a frequently used word) to have a President badmouth a Constitutional decision: Randy Barnett,

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

In that sense, you can call Obama’s speech “historic”.

More discussion on the State of the Union Address with special guest Moe Lane in this morning’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.

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13 Responses to “Obama’s SotU speech: Why Alito said, “Not true””

  1. Gorgasal Says:

    The decision refers to §441b, not §441a. Smith is sloppy. Nevertheless, his argument is valid.

  2. expat Says:

    Actually his attack on SCOTUS seems to follow an underlying philosophy regarding clashes between courts and presidents. Think Honduras.

    It’s an opinion that doesn’t strengthen our argument for the rule of law abroad.

  3. GM Roper Says:

    Obama lied? OMGosh, whodathunkit? {/sarcasm}

  4. Theresa Says:

    I think everyone needs to look at Obama’s way to fame. Who was his buddies and who had his financial back. Now he’s worried, the Republicans now have a level playing field. Unions will no longer have the “sole” luxury of contributions above the designated amount.

  5. Always On Watch Says:

    BHO was way out of line reprimanding SCOTUS last night.

    He cited “due deference,” then went on to disregard what he had just cited.

  6. La Gringa Says:

    Honduras’ Zelaya went further than that. Much further! He defied the court order. He ignored the court’s deadline to submit himself to the court to respond for his actions and laughed at the warrant (on TV), saying “They know where I am. Where are they? They are afraid.”. On public television, he called the court, “The Supreme Court of Injustice”. He said no one could stop him except God and the Virgin Suyapa. All of that is available on YouTube. Then he gathered a mob and broke into a military base and stole the confiscated ballots (ordered confiscated by the court).

    And that is just a snippet of the actions of the man that the Obama administration supported for 7 months, against the wishes of the Honduran people.

  7. expat Says:

    La Gringa,

    In neither case did Obama do any research before opening his mouth. But then he never does. He is an embarassment to the US and not a person other countries can count on.

  8. Fausta Says:

    an underlying philosophy regarding clashes between courts and presidents
    It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, the Obama administration’s reaction to the current constitutional crisis in Argentina will be.
    But then, that assumes they’re actually paying attention.

  9. A diminished, petty President « Public Secrets Says:

    […] “Not True” Moment at Reason; Fausta, who provides quotes about why Obama was wrong and demagogic; and Hot […]

  10. Mark @ Israel Says:

    His speech lacked discernment. He seems to build walls against the Supreme Court. How could he speak about “due deference” and attack the one he is supposed to address with due reverence at the same time? It is ironical.

  11. FAIL « Obi’s Sister Says:

    […] Fausta notes a special historical moment. […]

  12. expat Says:

    Mark,
    When a person starts a sentence with, “With all due deference,” it means that he knows he should be respectful of the person and his position BUT…. Then the name calling starts.
    Obama never defers to anyone unless they can be useful to him or they have bigger guns. True respect is not in the cards.

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