Do you ever hear something from someone and think, “Damn! I wish I’d have thought of that”?
That happened to me today.
One of my Facebook pals wondered out loud if the only mystery surrounding President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech would be whether the three most conservative members of the Supreme Court would stay away, as they have done in recent years.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia all have been absent during Obama’s recent speeches before a joint session of Congress.
I’ve long wondered — as have others –whether it is because they detest the president’s politics so much that they’d rather do something else than sit in front of him while he makes policy statement with which they disagree?
Look, gentlemen, this is the last one of these speeches Barack Obama will give as president of the United States. Surely you can find the time — not to mention the courtesy — to attend this speech along with the rest of your colleagues. Chief Justice John Roberts usually attends, and he’s in the conservative camp right along with the three no-show justices.
It might have been a single event that ticked them off. That would be the time that Obama scolded the court for its Citizens United ruling that took the limits off of corporations and enabled them to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Justice Alito was seen mouthing the words “not true” when the president made his critical comments.
That was then. If the scolding is the reason, well, get over it, will you?
The president is entering his final full year in office. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will be there. Most of the Cabinet will be there; custom calls for one of them to stay away in case something catastrophic happens at the nation’s Capitol Building.
I hope all nine justices see fit to make an appearance. They don’t have to applaud. Just be there.