‘Not 100% sober’ isn’t necessarily ‘drunk’

(l to r) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan (Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(l to r) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan (Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Anyone who watched the president’s State of the Union address last month must have noticed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nodding off on the front row. I cringed at the time, knowing full well that conservatives would have a field day with it. More ammunition for those who want her off the bench because of her age (81). And I readily confess I wish she’d step down while Obama is still in office so that he can appoint another liberal to replace her. I fear for her health and ability to stay on the job for another 2 years, much less 6 or likely 10 years if a Republican is elected in 2016.

That said, I really cringed this morning when I read reports quoting her as saying last night that she “wasn’t 100% sober” that night. She’d had some wine at dinner with the other justices. Sure enough, conservative news outlets are saying she was “drunk.”

Now, I may be splitting hairs here and may not be at all qualified to comment since I rarely drink. But depending on the individual’s tolerance (I readily admit I have none), I don’t think a few glasses of wine at dinner necessarily make you “drunk.” I do think it very possible that having some wine at dinner and then sitting in a warm room listening to a boring speech can make a lot of people sleepy.

Anyway, I just wanted to speak in Justice Ginsburg’s defense. I admire her tremendously and imagine she’s much too smart to have gotten “drunk” before an event like a nationally televised State of the Union address. Sure, I could be wrong. She might be a hopeless alcoholic who got totally wasted at dinner that night. But I tend to doubt it.

9 thoughts on “‘Not 100% sober’ isn’t necessarily ‘drunk’

  1. Please people – stop explaining your actions – it only makes it worse. If you are embarrassed, gut it up, promise yourself you’ll do better, and move on doing so.
    (and we really don’t need to know every little thing. We don’t. Public life. Private life. Voting for that. – especially for news reporters, anchors I do not care about your spouses or children or even your pets…)
    Thinking everyone care about every little thing is some sort of addiction for attention. Stop talking! Please- for all our sakes.
    (I don’t know about her family’s typical life’s span or genetics, Some area as good or better at 80 than others area at 50. But you are right that she deserves to have a life in good health after she decides to step down for what ever years she has left. Like they say, if you drop dead in your tracks, the machine pays no attention, shows no concern, it just keeps rolling)

    1. I don’t know why she even mentioned it, other than she’d probably been taking some heat for falling asleep. She’s done it before. Personally, I’d be embarrassed enough about falling asleep on national TV without mentioning I’d been drinking. I’m afraid Republicans are hoping she will drop dead in her tracks, while Dems are afraid she will. You’re right about the genes thing; for all I know she’s the daughter of Methuselah.

        1. I thought for sure she’d retire after being in the hospital last November for a heart procedure (a stent), but she was back at work a few days later. Remarkable woman.

  2. Oh the embarrassing places I’ve nodded off in. Frankly, I’m amazed that anyone can sit through the kinds of boring crap they have to sit through without falling asleep – even without a drink before! BTW, did you see this on CNN this morning?


    They chopped off the end, where she joked about the ‘uproar’ over being seated behind Scalia on the elephant as a ‘matter of proper weight distribution!’ 😀

    1. I saw a tiny bit of this when her comment was first publicized. She’s quite a character, isn’t she? I had no idea before this that she and Scalia were such friends. Seems like they’d be poles apart in all things.

... and that's my two cents