Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) lashed into Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday morning on the Senate floor, calling out the swing vote who overturned a hundred years of precedent to legalize deep corporate involvement in elections.
Leahy said that, in 36 years in the Senate he had never come to the floor to criticize a court decision, but was moved to do so by the activist nature of last week's 5-4 ruling in the Citizens United case.
He personally attacked Alito, noting that his confirmation testimony was under oath, yet was proven false by his brazen and radical dismissal of a century of precedent.
"In his confirmation hearing, Justice Alito -- and I might say, under oath -- testified that the role of the Supreme Court is a limited role. It has to do what it is supposed to do vigilantly, but it has to be equally vigilant about not stepping over its bounds and invading the authority of Congress," Leahy recalled Alito apparently lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "That was then -- when he was seeking confirmation. This is now."
Leahy said that he was speaking on the floor as chair of that committee and there are few historical precedents for such a direct rebuke of the court. "The conservative activist bloc on the Supreme Court reached an unnecessary and improper decision that is going to distort future elections," said Leahy. "It creates new rights for Wall Street at the expense of Main Street."
The party-line decision was the "most partisan" since Bush v. Gore, Leahy said, but it was more damaging because it was an interference by the court in every election, rather than just one.