John Roberts vs. Obama

The president took a swipe at the Supreme Court. Now the chief justice is striking back. Is anyone winning?

John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Obama.
(Image credit: Creative Commons)

Chief Justice John Roberts escalated a rare public spat between the Supreme Court and the White House this week, saying it was "very troubling" that President Obama had rebuked the court's recent campaign-finance decision during his State of the Union address. Roberts says the annual speech has degenerated into a "political pep rally," so he's not sure the justices, who are required by protocol to listen stoicly, should even attend. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shot back, saying the "troubling" thing was the court's decision. Who's right?

Roberts has to "get over it": John Roberts needs to grow some thicker skin, says Andrew Cohen in The Daily Beast. His "prissy" complaint that the justices shouldn't be forced to sit though Obama's respectful and "unremarkable" criticism of an unpopular ruling just makes the otherwise "bright, personable, important" chief justice look petty and political.

"Get over it, Judge"

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Obama's the one being petty: The White House should have let John Roberts' "entirely reasonable" counterpunch be the last word, says Jan Crawford at CBS News. Firing back like petulant 6-year-olds was a bad strategy, especially since — no matter how hard the White House may "stomp their feet and shout" — Roberts and the rest of the justices will have final say on many Obama policies.

"White House vs. Supreme Court: It's getting ridiculous"

There's a simple fix—stay home: The State of the Union Address is an inherently political event, says Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, and it's unfair to expect Supreme Court justices — whose work shouldn't be affected by the agenda the president lays out — "to sit like cyborgs" through it. They should order takeout at the courthouse, watch it on TV, and "cheer and boo all they want, just like the rest of us."

"John Roberts gets it right (for once)"



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