How many pope watchers and admirers, I wonder, noticed that only four of the high court’s members—Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor—showed up to hear the pontiff address a joint session of Congress last week?
Among the missing were the tribunal’s three most conservative voices, all hard-core Republicans and ostensibly devout Catholics—Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. You might think they would have wanted in on the celebration to demonstrate their fidelity, to see history in the making, or perhaps just to receive a personal blessing or two. Then again, you might be wrong.
So what gives? Was the nonappearance of the three judges a coincidence or the result of unavoidable scheduling conflicts? Or was the right-wing judicial troika sending a message of disapproval to Francis? After all, they’ve done much the same in recent years to President Obama by boycotting his State of the Union addresses.-Bill Blum, "Supreme Court Preview: The Pope Casts a Long Shadow Over the New Term," September 29, 2015, Truthdig.