For the 16th consecutive year, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia did not attend the State of the Union. Scalia does not attend the State of the Union when a Democrat is in the White House. He also does not attend when there is a Republican as President.
“It has turned into a childish spectacle. I don’t want to be there to lend dignity to it,” Scalia said.
Scalia, 76, has mentioned in the past why he does not attend the event and how much hatred he has for it, but this time he did it while the speech was actually taking place. Scalia was speaking at an event sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates and it was moderated by Nina Totenberg from National Public Radio.
When the Supreme Court is on its winter recess, the justices make public appearances, and this was just one of them made by Scalia. The group is scheduled to meet privately on Friday and return to the bench Tuesday.
“I didn’t set this up tonight just to upstage the president,” he said. “The State of the Union is not something I mark on my calendar, like Easter or Yom Kippur.”
He pretty much said that justices who do attend the event watch the chief justice so they know when they should applaud. He noted that they will clap if the president mentions the United States is a great country. But, he said that the justices should not clap “if it’s anything anybody can disagree with.”