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Obama Calls for Quicker Judicial Nominee Votes, Mortgage Crisis Unit; Four Justices Skip Speech

Posted Jan 25, 2012 7:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. stayed away from the State of the Union speech for the second year in a row after his well-publicized reaction to the 2010 speech.

Alito was one of four justices who did not attend on Tuesday evening, according to The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. The other justices who missed the event were Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Sotomayor was likely on her way to a judicial conference in Guam where she is slated to speak, the story says.

In 2010, Alito mouthed the words “not true” when Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling in Citizens United. The president didn’t single out the Supreme Court this year, though he did criticize the "corrosive influence of money in politics," The BLT says.

On other legal topics, Obama:

• Called for a "simple up or down vote" on judicial nominees within 90 days of their nomination.

• Announced he will form a mortgage crisis unit composed of state and federal officials to investigate lending abuses. The unit will include officials from the U.S. Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, and will be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times have stories.

The Washington Post published the full text of the speech.

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