Just one day before President Obama’s State of the Union address, it’s still not clear whether Chief Justice John Roberts will attend or, like high court colleague Justice Samuel Alito, skip the event.

The recent uptick in collegiality from lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the run-up to Tuesday’s speech contrasts sharply with the lingering controversy from last year’s speech in which President Obama rebuked the justices over a campaign finance decision. If Roberts decides not to attend, it would be his first absence at a State the Union Speech since joining the court in 2005.

Roberts’s decision — or that of any other justice for that matter — wouldn’t normally be an issue but for the instant uproar that resulted from last year’s address and the observations he and some of his colleagues have made over the last 12 months about the celebrated but often hyper-partisan evening.

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