On Chief Justice John Roberts’s response to President Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court in his State of the Union address:
The chief justice as usual — I would almost say, as always — is right. A president can attack the Supreme Court over its decisions, but that’s not the place to do it. It was a breach of protocol and decorum, and it was an insult.
The reason that the justices show up — it’s a dull evening, there is nothing in it if you are a justice. David Souter, the liberal who [recently] retired, never attended a single one because it is a waste of — it’s simply a way to pay respect to the presidency and the Congress. And you sit there and you don’t expect you are going to be attacked gratuitously, as the court was.
First of all, if you are going to attack the court in a setting like that, you should get it right. It was not a century-old precedent. That is the 1907 Tillman law which outlawed the direct giving of money by a corporation to a candidate. That was never in dispute. It wasn’t in this decision at all. It was left standing.
What the court overturned in the Citizens United case is the indirect expenditures of corporations and unions. So when Alito said “not true,” he was right as well.
I hope that next year there are nine empty seats in the State of the Union address. That would be the appropriate rebuke. . . .
I like the delayed response, the leaving of a decent period between the attack and counterattack. It had the right judicial touch. It was slightly robed.
On the hearings before the Texas State Board of Education on Texas’s social studies curriculum:
I know about the culture wars on textbooks. I was on my son’s curriculum committee in his schools in middle school and high school, and I had to fight for five years to get American history introduced by eighth grade and to get European [history] introduced as a requirement [at] any time.
I had to give long disquisitions on why European history — which gave us, for example, English, the common law, Western science — was slightly more important than Inca history in which my son had been marinated for many years. In fact, he could almost speak Inca by seventh grade.
And this goes on everywhere. It is political correctness. There is no way to solve it ultimately. But I think it’s good if you get some pushback from the parents, particularly since the teachers, who generally are the ones who have sway over this, are left-leaning and you get a lot of liberal slant in the textbooks.