Alito, answering questions following a speech Wednesday at the conservative Manhattan Institute in New York, also said, "Presidents will fake you out." The institute provided an online video link to Alito's talk and question-and-answer session.
The president will begin a sentence with an invocation of the country's greatness, Alito said. If justices don't jump up and applaud, "you look very unpatriotic," he said.
But, Alito continued, then the president may finish the thought by adding "because we're conducting a surge in Iraq or because we're enacting health care reform." Justices aren't supposed to react to statements about policy or politics.
The better course, Alito said, is to follow the example of more experienced justices like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and the recently retired John Paul Stevens. None has attended in several years.
"So I doubt that I will be there in January," Alito said.
To recap, Alito, a SCOTUS justice, will not be attending the State of the Union address because it's too political for him and he has trouble maintaining his impartiality at a speech.
Being one of the final arbiters of the constitutionality of United States law, setting precedents that may stand for decades? Easy. Knowing when to stand at a speech? Being able to tell the difference between patriotic cheerleading and policy fluffing? Man, call off the dogs!
Keen mind, that Sammy.