Former Arkansas Gov. criticized for joke about Justice Ginsburg skipping SOTU

"Security concerns wouldn't allow her to bring CPAP machine into House Chamber."
Judge Ginsburg
Photo: Getty Images

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest of our current Supreme Court Justices, will not be attending Trump’s State of the Union address tonight. Instead, the 84-year-old, who called the president a "faker" during his campaign run, will be in Rhode Island for her speaking tour, reports The Associated Press.


It's relatively common, as TIME points out, for Supreme Court justices to skip a SOTU — take, for instance, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito who didn’t attend Obama’s 2015 address.


Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and father to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, tweeted Sunday night, "It's not fair that ppl are criticizing Justice Ginsberg [sic] for skipping SOTU! Security concerns wouldn't allow her to bring CPAP machine into House Chamber."


This is referencing the moment when Ginsburg famously fell asleep during Obama’s 2015 SOTU (hence why he's saying she needs a CPAP machine for sleep apnea). 

But the response wasn’t all that welcoming. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) called Huckabee's comment "despicable" and "tasteless." (He also called him "politically intoxicated.")

Former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub tweeted at Huckabee, "What is the matter with you?"

Emmy-nominated "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" writer Bess Kalb gave Huckabee some pointers about his "joke-writing," advising, among other things, "If you write a joke about someone weaker than you are, it doesn't land if the joke underlines that weakness at the EXPENSE of that person (or group)."

In the weeks that followed her 2015 SOTU sleep spell, Ginsburg blamed it on the booze: "The audience for the most part is awake, because they’re bobbing up and down, and we sit there, stone-faced, sober judges. But we’re not, at least I wasn’t, 100 percent sober."

Apparently, Justice Kennedy brought a "very fine California wine" to dinner before the address, Ginsburg said, "and I vowed this year, just sparkling water, stay away from the wine, but in the end, the dinner was so delicious it needed wine. So I got a call when I came home from one of my granddaughters and she said, 'Bubbe, you were sleeping at the State of the Union!'"

Ginsburg, who dons the nickname "Notorious RBG" by her supporters and recently announced that she'll keep on working "as long as I can do the job full steam," reportedly dozed off again in September 2015 during Pope Francis’ address to Congress. Countless news outlets have noted that she's been caught napping at Obama's 2010, 2012 and 2014 SOTU addresses. And as far back as 2006, it was reported that she dozed for 15 minutes during a Supreme Court case.

You get the point — she’s known for catching some public shut-eye (like 80-year-old Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross).

In fact, when asked what her colleagues thought about her seemingly frequent on-duty slumbering, she told The Hill, "They expect me to sleep." So maybe, instead of taking offense to Huckabee's shot at a joke, she'd laugh it off like the Notorious RBG she is.

WATCH: Despite what you may think, here’s Justice Ginsburg’s trainer showing you how hard her workouts are

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