Supreme Court votes 6-3 on attending Obama’s speech
Six U.S. Supreme Court justices plan to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, the same number as last year when Obama criticized the court’s corporate political spending ruling.
There had been speculation that fewer justices might show up after Obama’s rare rebuke for the ruling by the conservative majority striking down corporate election spending limits.
A court spokeswoman said six of the nine justices plan on going. She said one who won’t be attending is Justice Samuel Alito, who happens to be in Hawaii this week for a previously scheduled law school speech.
Alito last year shook his head and appeared to mouth the words “not true” when Obama said the ruling “reversed a century of law” and “will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limits in our elections.”
Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas traditionally never attend the presidential State of the Union speech, which is given right across the street from the Supreme Court in the U.S. Capitol.
That leaves Chief Justice John Roberts, moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy and four liberals — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The last two were appointed by Obama.
There is no requirement that any of the Supreme Court members attend. None of them showed up in 2000 for then-President Bill Clinton’s last State of the Union speech.
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Justices and Joint Chiefs watch Obama at 2010 State of the Union)