Not attending is unusual for Ginsburg, who attended all eight speeches during President Barack Obama’s tenure, famously falling asleep at a 2015 address because she “wasn’t 100 percent sober.”
Alito stopped attending the State of the Union and other joint speeches to Congress after a notable moment at Obama’s 2010 address. After Obama criticized the court’s decision to loosen campaign finance laws in Citizens United, Alito was seen shaking his head and mouthing “not true.”
Alito later said that the ceremony was too awkward, with justices sitting there “like the proverbial potted plant,” and complained that justices look unpatriotic if they don’t clap but also risk looking partisan if they do.
Thomas has long skipped these addresses, arguing that they are “partisan.”
“I don’t go because it has become so partisan and it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,” he said in 2010. “There’s a lot that you don’t hear on TV — the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments.”
A court spokeswoman told Bloomberg that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would attend.