Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday said that the atmosphere at President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address resembled a "political pep rally."

During his speech, Obama slammed the Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that opened the door for unlimited corporate spending on politics.


Roberts called the scene "very troubling" during an address before University of Alabama law students, the Associated Press reported.The top Justice, responding to an audience question, said that criticism of the Court is appropriate, but that the behavior of the lawmakers in the room was detrimental.

"So I have no problems with that," he said. "On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum.

"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 the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling."

Obama's jab at the Court was unusual, and so was the behavior Justice Samuel Alito.

After the president criticized the Court's decision, Alito was seen mouthing the phrase "not true" as the speech continued.

Roberts, who joined the Supreme Court as Chief Justice in 2005 after he was appointed by President George W. Bush, questioned why Justices even attend the address since they must sit quietly.

"I'm not sure why we're there," he said.