Supreme Court Justice Roberts Fibbed in Alabama, and YouTube Proves It

05/10/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Anyone who has ever questioned whether or not the Supreme Court is a politically-charged body can wonder no more. It is.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, spoke Tuesday at the University of Alabama. Commenting on President Obama's recent State of the Union remarks (where Obama criticized the Court's decision declaring that corporations are people), Roberts said the following: "The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court -- according to the requirements of protocol -- has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling."

Roberts was engaging in political hyperbole, plain and simple, and he must surely know it. Given today's low standards of civility, he's lucky some student didn't yell out, "You lie!"

One need only look at this 47-second video clip from YouTube to see that, in truth, Democrats in the chamber stood and calmly applauded the president's deferential remarks, but there was no "cheering and hollering," as Roberts falsely exaggerated down South. Indeed, the only noisemaking beyond modulated applause was, in fact, discernible grumbling from Republicans.

(And yes, the president's remarks were deferential. The first words out of his mouth were, "With all due deference to separation of powers...." Can't get any clearer than that.)

Besides, what's the point of the Supreme Court whining, anyway? The State of the Union is the only constitutionally-mandated event in which the head of the executive branch is charged with delivering a frank assessment of the state of the union to all its stakeholders. Obama's decision to bring his disagreement to their attention in that setting was absolutely the right time.

The President of the United States is elected by the people; the Supreme Court isn't. Let's get our pecking order straight, shall we?