Ruth Bader Ginsburg drank wine and passed out at Obama’s State of the Union

In a recent interview, she admitted to knocking back a few glasses of red.


Marisa Kabas


Published Feb 13, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 1:17 pm CDT

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants us to know that she wasn’t drunk during this year’s State of the Union address, but she definitely wasn’t sober.

A photograph taken during President Obama’s speech showed the diminutive Ginsburg asleep on the floor of Congress. 

At 81-years-old, there’s a myriad of explanations for why she might have nodded off, but in a discussion with NPR at George Washington University on Thursday, Ginsburg explained what happened.

“The audience for the most part is awake because they’re bobbing up and down all the time. And we sit there, stone faced, the sober judges,” Ginsburg said. “But we’re not, at least I was not, 100 percent sober.”

Apparently the Supremes have a pre-SOTU tradition of dining with their highly exclusive crew, and Justice Anthony Kennedy brought along a bottle of California red wine. And just like any sassy and sophisticated broad, Ginsburg could not resist.

“I vowed this year—just sparkling water, stay away from the wine—but in the end, the dinner was so delicious it needed wine to accompany it,” she said.

She was interviewed alongside Justice Antonin Scalia and was too much of a lady to admit that he was the reason that drove her to drink.

With each passing day, Ginsburg continues to cement herself as not only one of the country’s greatest legal minds, but as the realest, coolest person on the bench. She’s inspired a Tumblr, a pop song, and laid the ultimate dissent smackdown after the Hobby Lobby case decision.

Now not only do we want to talk politics with her, we also want to drink with her.

H/T TPM | Photo via U.S. Supreme Court/Wikimedia Commons (PD)

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*First Published: Feb 13, 2015, 2:34 pm CST