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 February 9, 2023

Four Supreme Court justices refused to attend Biden's State of the Union

Four Supreme Court justices skipped President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Justices John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson were in attendance. Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch were not at the event.

Biden's remarks

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience,” Biden said to begin his address after recognizing Justice Jackson, whom he nominated.

“Of always moving forward. Of never giving up. A story that is unique among all nations. We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again," he added.

Reasons unexplained

The reasons for the justices not attending were not provided. However, some of the missing justices have not been present at a State of the Union address in many years.

"Justice Alito hasn’t attended a State of the Union address since 2010 when in a momentary lapse he was caught on camera mouthing the words 'not true' when then-President Barack Obama spoke against the Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that set the legal precedent for modern campaign finance," the DC Inquirer reported.

"In the 5-to-4 ruling along ideological lines, the conservative majority decided that 'under the First Amendment corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited,'" it added.

The president's message included an attack on the Supreme Court over its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

“Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade … the vice president and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy,” Biden said Tuesday.

“Make no mistake: If Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it,” he added.

Biden's speech was his second since taking office in January 2021. It was also his first year giving the address with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seated behind him.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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