Traditionally, the Supreme Court justices have a communal dinner before the State of the Union, probably because, in any given year, with any given President, at least one of them has to be wasted in order to endure the whole State of the Union speech. There are dangers, of course – an unintentional, alcohol-inspired utterance could mean having to recuse yourself from a controversial case – but all of those drawbacks are, no doubt, erased by the promise of a nice California white.
This year, the dinner’s victim was unexpected, at least in light of the speech’s content. Turns out, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – the Notorious RBG – wasn’t napping during Obama’s SOTU speech this year, when the camera caught her head bobbing down to her bejeweled collar. She was just drunk as a skunk.
In a lighthearted moment before an audience at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, the 81-year-old Ginsburg cracked up telling the story that she “wasn’t 100 percent sober” before going to the State of the Union.
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“The audience – for the most part – is awake because they’re bobbing up and down all the time and we sit there stone-faced, sober judges,” Ginsburg said. “At least I wasn’t 100 percent sober because before we went to the State of the Union we had dinner.”
Ginsburg said that Justice Anthony Kennedy was the culprit, bringing wine to dinner.
She has, of course, told this story before. Last year, she was also shown nodding off, only to blame Kennedy’s remarkable nose for wine. This year, although she claimed to be committed to only sparkling water, the delightful chardonnay proved irresistible. Fortunately, she was sharing a stage with Antonin Scalia, who noted that she made the right decision. After all, it’s impossible for anyone with a firm grasp of the operation of Constitutional Law to make it through SOTU with a straight face, let alone a functioning liver.
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