Supreme Court

Roberts ‘Troubled’ By State of the Union

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts can tell when he’s unwelcome: Roberts criticized the atmosphere of the president’s annual State of the Union address to Congress, calling it a “political pep rally.” Speaking to University of Alabama law students, Roberts said Obama’s speech in January was “very troubling” because the president knocked the court for its overturning of limits on corporate spending on campaign ads. "To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we're there," Roberts said. Though anyone is free to criticize the Court, "there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. 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 the requirements of protocol—has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling." He also said senators ask inappropriately political questions, which they know nominees can’t answer, at confirmation hearings. Obama’s press secretary defended the speech by further criticizing the decision in question.