Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s show of partisanship during President Obama’s State of the Union address stands as one more piece of evidence that conservatives believe the American government belongs to them, not the people of the United States. With the echoes of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie” barely still, Alito’s head-wagging, lip-mouthing “Not true” in response to Obama’s claim that a recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to spend on political campaign ads overturned a century of precedents and opened the floodgates to special interests went way past poor decorum.


Traditionally, the justices, like the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the military, show no partiality during the State of the Union address.

Some might say this, like Wilson’s crude utterance, is an example of a racial challenge to Obama’s authority as president, and it might be. But, no question, it was the typical right-wing dogma that can be found up and down the radio dial and on Fox News.

Many say Obama was rude to criticize the decision publicly in the Supreme Court’s presence, but just as Alito is a Constitutional scholar from Yale, the president is a Constitutional scholar from Harvard, and thus had a right to disagree with the decision just as some of his less educated predecessors had.

President Ronald Reagan, in his 1984 State of the Union address, criticized the Court for Roe v. Wade, 1973.

Alito, like Chief Justice John Roberts, is a staunch advocate of corporate personhood, a contrivance that popped up in the late 19th century (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886) and has been a bane to basic human rights ever since.

It was this kind of unfettered, predatory corporatism that nearly brought the country to its knees in the fall of 2008.

The decision doesn’t give corporations equal rights with citizens; it gives them superior rights.

A corporation can use money for speech fearlessly, yet, as an employee, a person cannot speak negatively to a CEO without getting fired.

Is it slavery when corporations own other corporations? People can’t own other people.

If a person kills someone, he/she goes to jail and can receive a death penalty.

A corporation can only be sued or fined, and some, like the Alitos and Robertses of the world, want limitations on that.

Thousands died after Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories unleashed its “miracle” diet drug, Fen-phen in the late 1990s. Nobody went to jail. The state put nobody to death by lethal injection.

Wyeth paid out over $3.75 billion in damages, but that’s as far as the law can go when corporations kill.

Obama was well within his rights and Alito, though he has a right to his opinion, was just rude.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)

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