Chief justice ‘back and forth’ on attending State of Union

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says he’s gone “back and forth” on whether justices should attend the State of the Union address.

Roberts told some Belmont University law students and prominent lawyers Wednesday that the president’s annual speech to Congress is an important civic ceremony. Roberts himself has attended each State of the Union while on the court, including Tuesday night.

He also said the event is a political pep rally. He said justices have to decide when to stand, picking non-polarizing moments like recognizing a hero or the military. He said other groups, like the joint chiefs of staff, face the same challenge.

Roberts’ discussion was led by Belmont law school dean Alberto Gonzalez, a former attorney general under President George W. Bush, who nominated Roberts.

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