When there are people that have a legitimate reason not to attend a function such as the State of the Union address, that’s one thing and perfectly acceptable.
However, when you have someone that is not attending it out of pure spite that person is just beyond all hope.
Among the notable figures absent from President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday will be Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Instead of attending the Trump’s address, she will be part of a “fireside chat” at the Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island. Her appearance at the school, one of several stops in her winter speaking tour, has been scheduled since August 2017.
Ginsburg, though, has previously criticized Trump — most notably during the 2016 presidential election cycle, when she called him a “faker” with “no consistency.”
Last February, Ginsburg did not attend Trump’s speech before a joint session of Congress. But as pointed out by The Hill, the liberal justice was there for all eight of former President Barack Obama’s addresses to Congress. Ginsburg is far from the only liberal who will not be present at the Capitol Building on Tuesday, where Trump will deliver his speech.
Multiple Democrat members of Congress, including Reps. Maxine Waters of California, John Lewis of Florida, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Frederica Wilson of Florida have announced they will boycott the annual event.
Other Democrats said they will protest the State of the Union in other ways, or wear black to honor victims of sexual misconduct. Following Trump’s speech, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III — the grandson of former Attorney General Robert Kennedy — will deliver the Democrat response.
It is not unusual for Supreme Court justices to opt not to attend the State of the Union. Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, chose to skip the event every year, from 1998 until his death.
“You just sit there, looking stupid,” he said in 2013, according to CNN, specifically expressing his distaste for the spectacle nature of the address.
“I resent being called upon to give it dignity,” he said.
In the past, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have also found reasons not to attend.
Thomas, for his part, has said that it is “very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,” adding that viewers watching from home do not get the whole picture.
“There’s a lot that you don’t hear on TV,” he said. “The cat-calls, the whooping, hollering, and under-the breath comments.”
Alito, meanwhile, boycotted the event several times during the Obama administration, following an incident at Obama’s first State of the Union in 2010.
During his speech that year, Obama criticized the Court, prompting Alito to shake his head and mouth the words, “not true.”
Since being inaugurated, Trump has appealed to his voters by appointing conservatives to the federal bench. Most notably, he nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat that was left open when Scalia died.