NY Daily News Makes Federal Case out of Justices' 'Boycott' of State of the Union

Ever since Justice Samuel Alito mouthed "not true" after an inaccurate partisan applause line at President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, some in the mainstream media have been keen on presenting the conservative wing of the Supreme Court as partisan political actors with an eye on sticking it to the Obama administration wherever possible.

Today, New York Daily News writer Richard Sisk dusted off the meme in a short item chock full of loaded language painting Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in a negative light (emphasis mine) for opting to "boycott" the 2011 State of the Union Address:

WASHINGTON - Everybody else is at each other's throats in Washington and now the normally above-the-fray members of the Supreme Court have joined the club.

 

Justice Stephen Breyer said Sunday that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito can go ahead and boycott President Obama's State of the Union address in January, but he'll be there.


 

"He [Roberts] says what he thinks. I say what I think. I'll be there next year," Breyer told "Fox News Sunday."

 

Roberts and Alito got bent out of shape last year when Obama slammed the Court on campaign finance rulings.

 

"I think it's very troubling" for the President to knock the Court in public, Roberts said later in announcing that he would likely join Alito in sitting out the next State of the Union.

Leaving aside Sisk's nonsensical use of the term "boycott," the Daily News writer also laughably painted the perpetually mild-mannered Chief Justice Roberts as "bent out of shape," while failing to consider that it seems petty and unpresidential for Obama to have used the Supreme Court for one of many partisan applause lines in the annual speech.

It's precisely that sort of partisan gamesmanship that has led conservative Justice Antonin Scalia to mock the annual speech as a "juvenile exercise" back in November:

In remarks to the conservative Federalist Society on [November 18], Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia decried the "juvenile spectacle" that is now the State of the Union address, saying he believes it is inappropriate for justices to attend the annual tradition.

 

Comparing the gatherings to "cheerleading sessions," Scalia said, "I don't know at what point that happened, but it did happen, and now you go and sit there like bumps on a log while applause lines cause one half the Congress to leap up while [another] causes the other half to leap up. ... It is a juvenile spectacle. And I resent being called upon to the indignity."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters