Some viewers of President Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night say they could see Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouth the words “No, that’s not true” during one contentious moment in the speech.
CNN host Wolf Blitzer said he saw Alito mouth the words during the president’s criticism of a recent Supreme Court ruling that rolled back decades of restrictions on corporate and union campaign spending.
“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said Wednesday night.
At that moment, video footage shows Alito furrowing his brow and shaking his head in disapproval — although he stands up to applaud moments later. While Raw Story’s examination of the footage didn’t show Alito saying the words, the claim was backed up by Politico’s Kasie Hunt, who says she saw Alito mouth “Not true” as the president delivered his line.
Alito is considered to be one of the conservatives on the US’s highest court, and he voted in favor of rolling back campaign finance laws.
Politico suggests that it could have been “Alito’s ‘you lie’ moment,” referring to House Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during the president’s address to Congress on health care in September.
“Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities,” the president continued. “They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”
The president has been unusually critical of the Supreme Court in the wake of the ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC. Typically, presidents refrain from criticizing Supreme Court rulings, in an effort to respect the separation of powers — something the president acknowledged briefly in his State of the Union address.
But the SCOTUS decision on campaign finance has taken an unusual amount of heat from politicians and the press alike, with the New York Times calling it a “radical decision” and President Obama describing it as “strik[ing] at our democracy itself.”
This video is from CNN, broadcast Jan. 27, 2010.