Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is among the five Supreme Court justices who are expected to skip President Trump’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
The Supreme Court’s public information office said it expects only Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to attend the proceedings in the House chamber.
Along with Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor are not expected to be in attendance.
Ginsburg has been closely watched since a Dec. 21 surgery to remove cancerous nodules from her lower left lung forced her to miss oral arguments last month, but the 85-year-old’s expected absence from the annual event likely isn’t health related.
Ginsburg was spotted publicly for the first time post-op at a concert in D.C. Monday night.
It’s very common for justices to miss the State of the Union address. Roberts said publicly in 2010 that it’s up to each individual justice to decide whether to attend or not.
Justices Thomas and Alito, of the court’s conservative wing, haven’t been in years.
Speaking to students at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla., in 2010, Thomas said he doesn’t go because “it’s become so partisan, it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,” according a The New York Times report at the time.
The statements came after former President Obama criticized the court in his first address for striking down limits on corporate campaign spending in the landmark case known as Citizens United.
“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said during his speech.
Alito, who was part of the ruling’s 5-4 majority and in the House chamber for the address, was spotted by The New York Times shaking his head and mouthing what appeared to be the words “not true.”
Later that year while speaking at the Manhattan Institute, Alito complained publicly about the awkwardness of the annual event.
“We have to sit there like the proverbial potted plants most of the time,” he said, noting that it’s sometimes hard to refrain from manifesting any emotion or opinion.
He hasn’t been to a State of the Union since.
The late Antonin Scalia was another well-known no show. He called the event a “childish spectacle” during a speaking engagement at George Washington University in 2013, USA Today reported.
Ginsburg attended each of Obama’s addresses and even made headlines for dozing off during his remarks in 2015. She admitted later that she had shared some wine with her colleagues ahead of the event and was not “100 percent sober.”
The court’s leading liberal did not attend Trump’s joint address to Congress in 2017 nor his first official State of the Union last year. That absence, however, was due to prior speaking engagements in Rhode Island, according to multiple media reports.
Ginsburg surged in popularity in 2016 after making disparaging remarks about Trump during his run for the presidency. In an interview with The New York Times she joked that she would have to move to New Zealand if he were elected.
Trump responded by calling for her to resign, claiming her mind is shot.
But Ginsburg’s personal feelings about Trump haven’t kept her from attending other events, including a swearing-in ceremony at the White House for his second nominee to the court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Reported The hill