SCOTUS Snub — Four Supreme Court Justices Skip Biden State Of The Union

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

According to early Nielsen ratings, Joe Biden’s State of the Union address saw a significant drop from last year.

A total of 23 million people watched Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, down from the 34 million who watched it last year.

It appears that not just ordinary citizens were uninterested in watching an old demented man angrily spew lies from behind the House Speaker’s rostrum. Several members of the Supreme Court skipped the address, also.

“During the 2023 State of the Union, President Joe Biden greeted the attending Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court as is customary. However, four of the sitting justices declined to attend the Tuesday evening Congressional pomp and ceremony. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch were conspicuously absent,” the DC Enquirer reports.

According to Fox News, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts led the mixed delegation that included Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

There were also retired Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy in attendance, according to The Hill.

D.C. insiders know why the four justices didn’t attend but here is the short history of why.

A report by The Hill indicates that Justice Alito hasn’t attended a State of the Union address since 2010, when he mouthed the words “not true” during a speech by President Obama expressing opposition to Citizens United v. FEC, which established the legal precedent for modern campaign finance.

By a margin of 5 to 4, the conservative majority ruled that “under the First Amendment corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited,” Oyez wrote.

It has been more than a decade since Justice Thomas attended, as he told The New York Times in 2010:

“I don’t go because it has become so partisan and it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,” Thomas said, explaining that “there’s a lot that you don’t hear on TV the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments.”

“One of the consequences,” he continued, referring to the case with Justice Alito and Citizens United, “is now the court becomes part of the conversation, if you want to call it that, in the speeches. It’s just an example of why I don’t go.”

“Biden’s second State of the Union address is the second that Justice Gorsuch has missed since joining the court under former President Donald Trump,” the Enquirer added.

One mysterious holdout was leftist Justice Sotomayor who has skipped every State of the Union since Trump’s election in 2016. One would think she would be excited to attend Biden’s address, but according to Reuters, the progressive told legal scholars in January that she felt a “sense of despair,” since a conservative majority took over the bench.

Following the SCOTUS ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Sotomayor described herself as “shell-shocked” and “deeply sad.”

A particularly contentious moment of the night was Biden’s false claim that Republicans would repeal Social Security and Medicare, resulting in shouts and booing from Republican lawmakers.

In response, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., yelled, “Liar!” at the president.

“Well I’m glad – I’ll tell ya, I enjoy conversion,” Biden said in response. “It means if Congress doesn’t keep the programs the way they are, they’d go away. Other Republicans say – I’m not saying it’s a majority of you… but it’s being proposed by an individual.”

“I’m politely not naming them, but it is being proposed by somebody,” Biden said, walking back his lie.

According to Fox News “Biden was likely referring to an agenda proposal introduced last year by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who suggested “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.””

Scott’s proposal, which was widely rejected even by Republicans, was made in his failed bid to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Even the liberal Washington Post declared the Democrats’ claim that Republicans want to end Social Security and Medicare as “false.”

Also fact-checking Biden was the liberal PolitiFact. They called his assertion that Trump grew the national debt more than any president as “half-true.”

“Nearly 25% of the entire national debt that took over 200 years to accumulate was added by just one administration alone, the last one. Those are the facts, check it out,” Biden claimed.

“This is Half True,” PolitiFact reported.

Biden’s number checks out, but the figure leaves out important details and context.

Assigning debt to a particular president can be misleading. Much of the debt traces back to decades-old, bipartisan legislation that set the parameters for Social Security and Medicare.

Also, the largest single spikes in the federal debt came in 2020 from the initial rounds of coronavirus pandemic relief legislation. Former President Donald Trump signed those laws, but they passed with broad bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, other ways of analyzing the data undermine his point.

If you look at the raw amount of debt added during a presidency, Barack Obama, who governed with Biden as vice president, ranks first and Trump ranks second.

Obama’s figure is so much larger than Trump’s partly because he served eight years, while Trump served only four. If you divide the debt accumulated during each president’s tenure by the number of years they served, Biden, with only two years in office, has seen the largest rise in debt, with Trump second and Obama third.


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