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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alito Won’t Attend Next State of the Union

Asked if he would attend the State of the Union address next year, after the TV cameras this year caught him objecting to President Obama’s denigration of the country’s highest court, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said, “I doubt that I will be there in January.”

Delivering the Manhattan Institute’s prestigious Wriston Lecture on Wednesday evening, Alito noted that other justices, like the recently retired John Paul Stevens and current Justice Antonin Scalia “stopped the practice of attending State of the Union addresses, because they have become very political.”

Attendees of the black tie event in New York City told Newsmax that Alito complained of it being “very awkward” for the justices who attend the annual speech in the presence of the assembled members of both houses of Congress.

“We have to sit there like the proverbial potted plant,” Alito said, and provoked howls of laughter from the crowd when he deadpanned that the justices who are “more disciplined refrain from manifesting any emotional opinion whatsoever.”

It was a self-deprecating remark; in January, as he sat near the podium during Obama’s speech in the Capitol, Justice Alito was affronted by the president’s charge that “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.”

Videotape of the event shows Alito wincing, then apparently saying, “that’s simply not true.” Directly behind Alito, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Senate Democratic Caucus vice chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the second and third ranking Democrats in the Senate, gleefully took to their feet and cheered as Alito and the five other justices in attendance remained seated, looking uncomfortably intimidated.

Alito also joked regarding State of the Union addresses that “presidents will fake you out. There are certain things that a president will say that everybody has to applaud” like, “‘Isn’t this the greatest country in the world?’ … so you get up and you start to clap, and the president will say, ‘…because we are conducting the surge in Iraq.’”  (Continues here)

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