News » Op-Ed: SCOTUS Justices Shouldn’t Attend State Of Union

Op-Ed: SCOTUS Justices Shouldn’t Attend State Of Union

January 12, 2015

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 10: Belgian Prime Minister Herman addresses the Belgian Federal Parliament during the State of the Union on October 10, 2009  in Brussels, Belgium.  Herman Van Rompuy was elected New European Council President by the Heads of State of Europe yesterday. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

Having the Supreme Court Justices in attendance at the annual State of the Union is a relatively recent trend and not a positive one, writes, op-ed columnist Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe. The Constitution does not mandate that the Justices attend the President’s information-sharing session but they began attending in the mid-60s when, under President Johnson, the event switched to evenings and was televised. “Nothing has been gained by the change, least of all admiration for the Supreme Court or confidence in its impartiality,” Jacoby writes. “Justices used to have more self-respect than to dance attendance on presidents delivering political exhortations.” Chief Justice John Roberts agreed in 2010, calling the State of the Union a “political pep rally,” and saying, “The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court…has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.” However, unlike his colleagues Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Roberts has continued to attend.

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