Here’s a trivia question for you this morning: Which U.S. Supreme Court justice has attended every one of President George W. Bush’s ‘State of the Union’ addresses?
The answer may surprise you.
Here’s a hint: It’s not Justice Antonin Scalia, the justice most praised by conservatives and cited by GOP presidential candidates as their model for judicial selections. Scalia, not a fan of the partisan nature of the annual address, hasn’t been in close to a decade.
It’s neither Chief Justice John G. Roberts nor Justice Samuel Alito – Bush’s appointees – because they haven’t been on the bench that long. They have attended each year since they have been on the Court, though.
It’s not even the bench’s other noted conservative, Justice Clarence Thomas. We don’t know why Thomas doesn’t attend the events, although DC Dicta doubts being in a room full of senators is Thomas’s idea of fun.
The answer: Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer, a Clinton appointee, has seen every one of Bush’s annual addresses, and at times has been the only justice to attend. He was the sole justice at Bush’s 2001 speech to congress, even though Breyer voted against halting Florida’s election recount in the infamous Bush v. Gore decision.
A clear fan of the speeches, Breyer also attended all but one of Clinton’s addresses during his tenure. He missed the last one due to a bout of the flu.