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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alito, Thomas & Scalia skip State of the Union

The conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court was absent from President Obama's Tuesday State of the Union address.

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia declined to join their six other colleagues at the prime time address to Congress.

During Obama's 2010 address, Alito was seen whispering the words "not true" during Obama's speech. Obama used his address to blast the court for their 2010 Citizens United case which altered the rules on corporate and union funding of elections. (Continues)


Alito's decision not to attend was no surprise, in particular because his mother, Rose, died last week at the age of 98. Her funeral took place in Hamilton, New Jersey, on Monday, according to an online obituary in a local newspaper.

Roberts has attended every State of the Union address since he was appointed in September 2005. Breyer has also had a high, though not perfect, attendance rate since taking up his role in 1994, according to research conducted by Michael Giles, an Emory University professor, and Todd Peppers, a professor at Roanoke College.

By contrast, Thomas, Scalia and Ginsburg have all regularly opted out of attending, Giles and Peppers say.

As for Alito's reasons for not attending, he said at an October 2010 event in New York that the State of the Union speeches have "become very political events and it's very awkward for the justices," who are not expected to show any response to any politically charged rhetoric.

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