The Supreme Court and the State of the Union


The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin says six members of the Supreme Court are attending tonight's unity-themed State of the Union address, including Chief Justice John Roberts. Justice Samuel Alito, who famously shook his head in dissent last year when the president criticized the Court's Citizens United ruling, will be putting his time to better use in sunny Hawaii, where he's preparing to give a lecture to the state bar. Here's Bravin on who will make it:

Several justices long have felt it inappropriate to attend the annual presidential speech, regardless of partisan stripe. Justices Antonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens, who retired last year, often dueled over constitutional interpretation, but both typically skipped the State of the Union. Justice Clarence Thomas sometimes attends, but didn't last year. On the other hand, some justices, particularly Stephen Breyer, believe it's important to take their place in the tableau, visually signifying that all three branches ultimately are part of the same American experiment in self-governance.

In addition to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Breyer, Tuesday's high court procession likely will include Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mr. Obama's two appointees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Since this means we probably won't enjoy any more static between the executive and judicial branches tonight, why not watch last year's big brouhaha one more time: