By Linda Killian, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
As with the rest of President Obama's State of the Union speech, people heard what they wanted to hear and saw what they wanted to see. They will praise the parts they agree with and criticize those they don't, because it was a performance that had something for everyone. Those who agreed with the Supreme Court's recent decision on campaign spending will find the president's confrontation of the court's conservative justices and their decision inappropriate. Those who disagreed with the decision were delighted the president was willing to take the court on directly.
Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who isn't shy about speaking his mind and respects that quality in others, told me after the speech he found it refreshing to see "the president call the Supreme Court out to their face."
"You have to give the president credit" for taking them on directly, he said.
Sitting in the second row of the chamber directly in front of the president, Justice Samuel Alito showed obvious disdain for the president's interpretation of the decision, shaking his head back and forth for several seconds in response. The liberals on the court, who voted against last week's decision, did not express themselves and Chief Justice Roberts just stared at the president, seemingly without expression.
Obama was probably fortunate that Justice Antonin Scalia, who has been known to express displeasure at critics with even more forceful gestures, was not present in the chamber.
"They got a real-world reminder that if you make a bonehead decision someone is going to call you out on it," said Weiner of the justices.