6 Justices to Attend Obama's State of the Union

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speak to both houses of Congress during his first State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(CBS/AP) Two out three ain't bad.

Or, six out of nine as is the case for the Supreme Court's attendance rate at tonight's State of the Union speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts will lead a contingent of six Supreme Court justices at President Barack Obama's annual address, quieting speculation that only Democratic appointees to the court would attend.

Roberts had objected to the partisan atmosphere at last year's address, particularly after Mr. Obama offered rare criticism of the court during his speech.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg confirmed that six justices would be present at Tuesday's speech, although she would not say which ones. But as three justices had previously all but ruled themselves out, it seemed a safe assumption that Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy would join their four colleagues who were appointed by Democratic presidents.

Justice Samuel Alito, who mouthed the words "not true" in response to Obama's criticism (watch at left), is in Hawaii this week.

Meanwhile, Justice Antonin Scalia told The Hill on Monday that that he hasn't "gone to the State of the Union in at least 10 years, and I'm not starting tomorrow night either."

This should come as no surprise. The conservative justice told CBSNews.com legal analyst Jan Crawford in an interview at the Federalist Society dinner last fall not to expect him. "It is a juvenile spectacle, and I resent being called upon to give it dignity," he said. "It's really not appropriate for the justices to be there."

Still, there had been much speculation about which members of the high court might be no-shows at the annual speech after Mr. Obama last year used the platform to blast the court's decision on campaign finance reform.

According to Crawford, Clarence Thomas doesn't doesn't attend the State of the Union for similar reasons as Scalia.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com


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