If there is one thing that we look forward to almost as much as watching her sleep through the State of the Union, it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg hugging Obama before he takes the stage for his annual address. We didn't get any TV shots of the Notorious RBG's equally notorious nap from this year's speech, but we got all of the warm, fuzzy feels from the annual embrace — plus a bonus roundup of every single time that the two have hugged it out before now. Can your heart handle it?
Before the main show starts, the president always makes his way down the aisles and greets the various important people in attendance. Most people get a simple handshake and "Happy New Year," or a polite air kiss for many of the women. But not RBG. Since 2009, the Supreme Court justice has gotten a warm, genuine hug from the president, more often than not putting her fantastic lace gloves right in the view of the camera.
Count on the woman who literally wrote the book on RBG to commemorate that last special moment in a wonderful way. Irin Carmon, MSNBC reporter and coauthor of Notorious RBG, tweeted a mashup of ever single pre-SOTU Ginsburg/Obama hug, thoughtfully organized in chronological order.
You'll notice that 2010, 2012, and 2014 are all absent. Ginsburg was in attendance, but these were noticeably years in which the media latched onto her SOTU snoozefests. True to form, in 2010, she acknowledged that she pregames the speech with the other Supreme Court justices. It's not entirely clear if that had anything to do with the hugfest breaks.
Even with years missing, this is a visceral collection of a sweet tradition that I'm sad to see ending. There's something so comforting about the tiny but powerful Ginsburg reaching up to hug the neck of the tall and also powerful president. She seems to have some genuine affection for him, like your grandma hugging you and telling you that everything will be OK. You know, if your grandmother happens to be one of the most accomplished legal minds of this century and you happen to be the leader of the free world.
Still, it feels like something we can all relate to: the embrace of someone familiar amidst a sea of hostility. And that's something that I'll miss in next year's SOTU, no matter who is giving it.