<< Preventable Murder, Part Eight Zillion | Main | News Scan >>

Justices, the SOTU, and Party

Adam Liptak has this story in the NYT on Supreme Court Justices' attendance at the State of the Union address.  He includes a research nugget.  It's always interesting when a researcher is surprised by his results.
Following the 2010 kerfuffle, Todd C. Peppers of Roanoke College and Micheal W. Giles of Emory University researched the attendance of the Justices.  Among the findings, Justices are more likely to attend addresses by the President who appointed them, but after he leaves office there is no correlation between party and attendance.

"I went into this project assuming that ideology was going to explain these patterns," Professor Peppers said. "That doesn't appear to be the case."

Once again, putting too much weight on ideology points the wrong direction.  (Did everyone notice the line-up in Jones v. United States yesterday?)

Also this history nugget:

In 1964, Johnson said, "Let this session of Congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined." Five members of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Earl Warren, applauded.

Hmmm.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was indeed one of the monumental pieces of legislation in American history.  It was the most important domestic legislation of the twentieth century by a wide margin, in my view.  It would be difficult to exaggerate its importance, but LBJ managed it.  More important than the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments combined?  No.

Update:  Tony Mauro has this post-SOTU post at BLT.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan were in the audience, as were Court officials including Clerk William Suter and Jeffrey Minear, counselor to the chief justice. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who attended for the last two years, was absent, likely in transit to a judicial conference in Guam where she is scheduled to speak in coming days.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives