I wasn't as affected as most by the events surrounding Obama's slapdown of the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision last night. To be sure, I thought it took some stones to attack a recent Supreme Court decision right in the face of the justices -- particularly one which isn't obviously unpopular (I think it likely is unpopular, but it isn't the sort of pitchforks and torches decision that, for example, a ruling striking down "under God" from the Pledge would have been). At the same time, Justice Alito mouthing to himself "that's not true", which I didn't notice live, didn't really bother me that much either -- I don't think he meant it as a "you lie" moment, and my instinct was to not make a big deal about it.
But apparently others are. Glenn Greenwald's argument is that Alito has made himself into a political figure: a political hero to the right, and a political enemy of the left, and that's inconsistent with his role as a judge. It's a fair point, although it's easy to overstate the impact -- it's just a more explicit exclamation point on something the general public already is well aware of: there are liberal judges who like and are liked by liberals, and conservative judges who like and are liked by conservatives.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Rosen sees this as an opening gambit for Obama to attack "conservative activism" by the Supreme Court. Rosen claims that historically, it hasn't taken much explicit executive pushback to see a court labeled as "activist". One thing I like about it is that it helps balance out years of Republican claims that conservative judging is about common sense and rule of law (there's a paradox there, but no time to discuss it), whereas liberal judges are just making stuff up because they spend too much time reading deconstructionists (or something). This is a chance for liberals to strike back a little bit and cast the conservative wing of the court as the one that is out of step with history, precedent, and the American people.