• 81°

Obama chose wrong time, place to criticize judges

President Barack Obama often speaks to the need to change the tone of Washington. He did so again during last week’s State of the Union speech. That is why it was so startling to see him commit a breach of both tone and etiquette during his annual address.

With six members of the Supreme Court seated before him on the floor of the House of Representatives, Obama pointedly criticized the court’s recent decision on corporate campaign spending and urged Congress to revisit the issue. Democratic lawmakers and Cabinet members surrounding the justices stood and applauded vigorously.

The black-robed guests sat impassively — as they routinely do at this event — except for Justice Samuel Alito, who appeared to wince and mouth the words, “not true” when Obama described the ruling. …

To almost literally finger the justices arrayed before him was simply — and uncharacteristically — ungracious.

Yes, past presidents have criticized Supreme Court decisions during State of the Union speeches, but the event has become such a political pep rally that Obama put his guests in an impossible position. …

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Jan. 31