Friday, January 29, 2010

Maybe Obama owes the Court an apology

Actually, I admit I'm a bit torn. The founders set up three co-equal branches of government with the idea that they would check and balance each other, each preventing the others from accumulating too much power. It hasn't necessarily worked out that way; most often the three branches connive with one another against the populace, and the chief executive, envisioned as an administrator without much power of his own beyond commanding the military on the rare occasions when its use was necessary, has become, as Andrew Bacevich put it, the American Idol. But insofar as they are checking one another, there are bound to be disagreements that sometimes break out in open criticism. Such criticism might just mean that to some small degree the founders' scheme is still working, so perhaps it should be welcomed and encouraged.

That said, the more I've looked into this -- I wrote a critical piece on the speech for the Register's Sunday Commentary section -- will link once it's up -- the clearer it seems that while Alito's probably spontaneous pantomiming was probably ill-advised, it was Obama who was the clear breaker of precedent and the aggressor -- and something of a cowardly one at that, with the pointed criticism directed at people who by protocol are expected to sit motionless and expressionless during a rather pointed and highly inaccurate tongue-lashing, of the kind that any con law professor with a speck of integrity would give a failing grade to. Presidents hardly ever have referred to the Supremes in SOTU speeches, and never before in such a pointed way right to their faces. Attendance at SOTU is optional for Supremes, and it might not be surprising if none showed up next year. Maybe not so bad. Catfights between the branches just might be a good sign for freedom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you look at how the executive branch has become an imperial presidency, the founding fathers would be horrified by this. Washington used to refer to himself as "chief magistrate". Today the president is expected to be some kind of Hollywood god-like figure. Crazy. And dangerous too.