U.S.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Took a Tipsy Nap at the State of the Union

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Much Ado About Nodding: You down with RGB? Just a lil sleepy... REUTERS/Jason Reed

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fondly nicknamed ‘Notorious RBG,’ by some supporters (a reference to the deceased rapper Notorious BIG) admitted she was “not 100 percent sober” during President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address.

This appears to explain why Ginsburg nodded off—or at least seemed to—during the speech. The justice’s catnap did not go unnoticed. Several media outlets reported it the following day.

Ginsburg made the comment during an NPR interview with fellow Justice Antonin Scalia at George Washington University on Thursday, Talking Points Memo reports.

Ginsburg also blamed the fact that the justices, unlike the Congress members present, do not stand and sit repeatedly during the speech to applaud points made by the president.

“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 to a crowd at George Washington University. “But we’re not—at least I wasn’t—100 percent sober.”

She explained the justices had dinner together before Obama’s speech and Justice Anthony Kennedy brought a bottle of wine which, despite her earlier decision to stay away from alcohol before the speech, was too good to pass up.

Justices Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, three of the court’s most conservative members, did not attend the speech. Scalia, who has in the past has called the modern State of the Union address “a childish spectacle,” has attended only seven of the 21 addresses for which he has been eligible.

Ginsburg also fell asleep during Obama’s 2012 State of the Union after imbibing wine provided by Justice Kennedy, The Washington Post reported.

There was also speculation that Ginsburg may have nodded off while hearing oral arguments in a 2006 Supreme Court case.

On the Supreme Court bench since 1993, Ginsburg, 81 years old, underwent surgery in November to remove a coronary blockage.

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