Axelrod on POTUS-SCOTUS SOTU Flap

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Mar 14, 2010 10:52am

At least the President didn’t suggest carving Chief Justice Roberts a new spine from a banana.  The President’s top adviser told me in my “This Week” interview that that Chief Justice Roberts didn’t really have a point when he said the President’s State of the Union criticism of a court decision was “very troubling”. 

Axelrod suggested that Roberts should look to Teddy Roosevelt to see a real dust-up between the Executive and the Court. “You know, if he looks back 100 years, Theodore Roosevelt said of Oliver Wendell Holmes after he made a decision on an antitrust case that he didn't believe in, that Roosevelt thought was a bad decision, he said, I could carve out of a banana a judge with a stronger spine than him.  So things have been said about justices by presidents in the past that were far more personal than anything the president said here.”

When asked if Roberts had a point about the setting being inappropriate, Axelrod responded: "I really don't think so." 

Watch video HERE:

Read full transcript:
 
TAPPER:  I want to change to a couple of other subjects.  First of all, President Obama during his state of the union address criticized the Supreme Court decision, with the Supreme Court sitting there.  This week, Chief Justice John Roberts had this to say about how he  felt at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS:  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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Doesn't Justice Roberts have a point?  Not on the substance
of what President Obama was saying about the decision, obviously the
president can say whatever he wants.  But doesn't he have a point about the appropriateness of that setting?

AXELROD:  You know, I really don't think so, and I think Justice Roberts is a student of history.  You know, if he looks back 100 years, Theodore Roosevelt said of Oliver Wendell Holmes after he made a decision on an antitrust case that he didn't believe in, that Roosevelt thought was a bad decision, he said, I could carve out of a banana a judge with a stronger spine than him.  So things have been said about justices by presidents in the past that were far more personal than anything the president said here.  But thinking about Teddy Roosevelt, I wonder what he would think about a bill that essentially allows for a corporate takeover of our elections, or a court decision.  And that's what we're dealing with here.  Under the ruling of the Supreme Court, any lobbyist could go into any legislator and say, if you don't vote our way on this bill, we're going to run a million-dollar campaign against you in your district.  And that is a threat to our democracy.  It's going to further reduce the voice of the American people, and it's something we have to push back vigorously on.

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