Talk about partisan.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg only attends the State of the Union speech when it’s being given by a Democrat president. To be fair, even when she does attend she drinks alcohol first and falls asleep, but still.
The Washington Post on Tuesday included a chart detailing the attendance of each Supreme Court justice at the SOTU going back to 2001. A note is included in the chart stating that no justice attended President Bill Clinton’s 2000 address because of “travel changes and minor illness.”
The chart shows that Ginsburg is the only justice who only attends State of the Union addresses when they’re given by Democrats. She attended all eight of President Barack Obama’s addresses and some of Clinton’s, but none of President George W. Bush’s and so far none of President Donald Trump’s.
“Justice Clarence Thomas has not been since 2009. Justice Antonin Scalia was in the midst of a two-decade hiatus when he died in 2016. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has an almost perfect attendance record, but when he contracted the flu, it meant that not a single member of the court showed for President Bill Clinton’s January 2000 address,” the Post reported.
Breyer has been to every SOTU since he was appointed in 1994 except for Clinton’s 2000 address. Chief Justice John Roberts has attended every address since he was appointed in 2005, and Justice Elena Kagan has attended every address since she was appointed in 2010.
Justice Neil Gorsuch has also attended every State of the Union speech since he was appointed, but that occurred in 2017 so there’s only been one address since.
Every other justice besides Ginsburg has a bipartisan attendance record. Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy attended addresses given by Bush, Obama, and Trump. Justice Thomas, who has the worst attendance record, at least attended one Bush and one Obama SOTU. Justice Samuel Alito attended some Bush and Obama addresses, but none of Trump’s. Justice Sonya Sotomayor attended most of Obama’s speeches, and one of Trump’s.
“If Ginsburg attends Tuesday night, it might be for the same reason she said she attended the 2009 address. She had just undergone surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer, and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) had told an audience that Ginsburg might not be around much longer,” the Post reported.
Bunning apologized for what he said about Ginsburg. He died in 2017.
Ginsburg has been recovering from cancer surgery in December, and made her first public appearance Monday night. She attended a production of “Notorious RBG in Song” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. Ginsburg’s daughter-in-law composed and performed the production.
The surgery caused Ginsburg, 85, to miss oral arguments for the first time since she was appointed in 1993.