Supreme Activism From the Benches?
Under the "Current Usage" section, Wikipedia mentions that UK judges wear wigs to ensure that their persona do not have any undue influence on court proceedings, and also provide them safety.
While it's not clear if that's the historical reason, they are also very sensitive to portray neutral images in public. I am not sure whether the UK judges succeed in their mission, one thing is for sure; the US judges have no qualm expressing their opinion publicly.
When President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech on last Wednesday, he surprised the Supreme Court judges with a direct criticism on their recent verdict on campaign spending. The reaction of Justice Samuel Alito was astounding; he visibly expressed his dissent in front of camera.
The court had ruled that a provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act that banned corporations donating to candidate’s ad funds was against the First Amendment. A second provision of the campaign finance act, which barred political action committees from running ads for the candidates, was also repealed.
By favoring the unrestrained campaign contribution by corporations, the High Court ended a century-old tradition of limiting corporate contributions in the US politics. This will profoundly affect the U.S. political arena by opening an avenue to the foreign corporations to make unrestricted political donations to influence internal policies of the country.
Reacting to some negative comments about the President’s remarks, Vice President Joe Biden told on ABC the next day, “The president didn’t question the integrity of the court. He questioned the judgment of it.”
However, Republican senator John Cornyn did not agree, saying, “I don’t think the president should have done what he did in trying to call out the Supreme Court for doing its job. They are the final word on the meaning of the United States Constitution, even when we don’t like the outcome.”
A one-person majority in the judiciary branch seldom had made such a great difference in the lives of millions of people as recent ideological trends have manifested in the Supreme Court, with three sharply-divided decisions this month alone.