Justice Alito Skips Town ahead of 2011 SOTU

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. is electing not to attend tonight's State of Union address after mouthing "not true" to presidential assertions in the 2010 address.

The George W. Bush appointee has left town as Barack Obama gears up to talk jobs and the economy to the American people. Conservatives speculate he is likely still raw about pointed remarks Obama made to the justices as he stood before them giving the 2010 State of the Uunion address.

Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright said she is not surprised by Alito's scheduled absence. "I think everyone knew [he would be absent] from the moment Obama unfairly criticized the justices," she said.

Wright said that Obama acted in an uncivil manner when he attacked the justices in front of Congress in a way, she said, that incited hostility towards them. She also asserted that Obama verbally attacked the justices with "falsehoods."

The night of the 2010 address, Obama stated his disagreements with a court decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections," he shared.

Obama continued, "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems."

In particular, Wright highlighted the president's assertion that the Supreme Court's decision to block bans on corporate campaign donations would allow for foreign entities to manipulate U.S. elections.

"There are federal laws against that. This ruling did not change that," argued Wright.

Wright said Obama's actions were grossly inappropriate. His actions were made worse by the fact that the justices are bound by protocols from responding to the address.

"It was not only a captive audience, it was a handcuffed captive audience," she exclaimed.

Protocol, as Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. described it, mandates that the Supreme Court judges are to observe the proceedings expressionlessly.

Since the last address, many justices had been critical of the atmosphere in Congress during the address. Despite his absence last year, Justice Antonin Scalia told the Federalist Society that the address had become a "juvenile spectacle."

Clarence Thomas told The Associated Press that there are a lot of things that happened behind the scenes. He described catcalls, whooping and hollering, and under-the-breath comments.

The justices said this was especially true during last year's remarks, when there were plenty of clapping and laughter. Roberts called that night a "political pep rally."

Wright said of the judges' accounts that Obama played on the campaign atmosphere in Congress to make the justices feel uncomfortable. She said he is guilty of the same uncivility he has been against in recent days.

Given Obama's behavior, Wright said it would be appropriate for Alito and other justice to skip tonight's address. "It would send a strong statement if the justices weren't there," suggested Wright.

So far, Alito is the only known justice who will be absent during the address. Alito has left town. He is scheduled to give a talk at the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law Wednesday evening.

There has been no official word on whether the other justices will attend the address.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In Politics