Opinion

Commentary: Obama, Alito moment was overblown

You'd have thought President Barack Obama invited the Supreme Court to step outside and Justice Samuel Alito responded with similar smack.

That's about how pundits and pols have overblown a brief remark from Obama's State of the Union speech.

Way down in the speech, after health care reform, spending freezes and even lobbyist disclosures, and just before earmark reform, the constitutional-scholar president couldn't resist letting the six members of the Supreme Court in the audience know what he thought of their 5-4 ruling on campaign finance.

"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," Obama said.

"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."

Justice Samuel Alito was caught on camera mouthing "not true."

Obama gave a sharp elbow, Alito shoved back -- and it got hyperbolized into a personal rebuke, intimidation, an attack, a breach of decorum.

Since when is honest, mild disagreement to one's face out of line, even in Washington?

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