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State of the Union Address

Why do the justices of the US Supreme Court attend the State of the Union Address?

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December 25, 2010 12:48AM

The justices attend the State-of-the-Union Address as a courtesy to the President and as representatives of the Judicial Branch of government.

They are not required to attend, however. Only six justices were present for President Obama's first State-of-the-Union Address. Sometimes lack of attendance is interpreted as an act of political hostility or defiance; other times, a justice's absence is caused by neutral personal circumstances.