Alito at rest (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post) Alito at rest (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Monday was a bit anticlimactic in terms of Supreme Court decisions, Dana Milbank writes, so Justice Samuel Alito made himself the big story with his eye-rolling and face-making while other justices spoke. Not very becoming, Milbank says. Awfully middle-school. And those of us lucky enough to never have to go to middle school again should celebrate with grown-up behavior.

Commenters agreed on the essentials but argued over how important it is.

ramseytuell says hey, nobody’s perfect:

We must remember that they are individuals. We have nine members that have been found to have the ability in law to serve as members of the Supreme Court. They were not chosen because they are perfect. We would only need one Supreme Judge if that were so.

jeffreysachs thinks Alito’s behavior might indicate a superior mind, given how high Alito has risen without perfect manners:

Justice Alito’s judicial temperament leaves a lot to be desired, and as such his antics belittle the respect for the entire instituion. However I would like to believe that President George W Bush appointed him for his legal intellect, with only secondly considering his ability to show respect and dignity.

But ericcallenking thinks the inability to acknowledge other opinions respectfully is a big problem for a justice — it implies black-and-white thinking and intellectual rigidity:

It is the mark of the ideologue that they cannot conceive of being wrong, whereas every reasonable person is aware that life is a continual education. If you think you can never be wrong you cannot learn anything new- it is the job of those on the right still capable of learning new things to lead the party away from the death grip of the ideologues who can’t see the world as it is but only as it must be to fit their ideology, even when that ideology has been soundly refuted.

radicalrealist would wince along with Alito at the other justice’s attempts to be funny:

For sure, Alito needs to learn how to develop his poker face (something I, too, was a late learner, when I finally realized the impact in my late 30s.) At his age, and his position, it is essential to learn how to mask his true feelings.

That said, I am tired of all these justices thinking they’re comedians and are there to entertain and throw quips for the audience and camera. From what I’ve seen, only Roberts has the dry wit and delivery to occasionally pull that off. That he does it only occasionally shows that he is, indeed, jurisprudent.

tony_in_Durham_NC would expect graciousness from Alito, who voted with the winning side of the sexual harassment case, as the losing side expressed dissent:

Why are Republicans such sore winners? Alito’s opinion ruled the day. Does he have to rub his opponent’s nose in it? The NC GOP won all 3 branches of government here and have effectively gerrymandered a majority for the next 8-10 years. Do they really need Voter ID to suppress black votes that won’t matter anyway? Grow up, GOP.

etpietro thinks the comments section is a singularly inappropriate place to address issues of maturity of Supreme Court justices:

I am currently rolling my eyes at this whiny little column and about 90% of the whiny little comments that accompany it. Which I am sure will prompt a bunch of name calling from liberals. Proving, of course, that they are above any form of petulant behavior themselves.

Which allows PostScript to quote her favorite phrase in all of the comments page today. The conversation briefly detoured into whether or not Justice Alito was factually correct (if not temperamentally so) when he shook his head and mouthed “not true” during President Obama’s State of the Union a few years back. Just because we’re talking about middle school.


C[itizens] U[nited] was totally about campaign contributions. You are not fooling anyone, nor were Alito et al. It’s totes goofy to think just saying so makes it true.

This might be the first use of “totes” PostScript has come across in her ranging duties, and it would be a sad if she failed to highlight it in case it brings anyone else here joy. Totes.