So there's this Facebook post that makes this claim:

No sitting President, in the history of The United States of America, has ever 'skipped' the funeral of a sitting US Supreme Court Justice.

Never. Until now.

Is this true?

  • 4
    The claim I've seen more commonly is that there's no known instance of any previous President skipping the funeral of a sitting Justice. This might be an easier claim to verify/debunk.
    – reirab
    Feb 20, 2016 at 18:07
  • Here's the list of those who died in office politicalgraveyard.com/offices/pdio3.html
    – DavePhD
    Feb 21, 2016 at 13:39
  • 1
    This claim is unsupported. This is what the link says: "God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world." Justice Antonin Scalia
    – user70848
    Feb 24, 2016 at 16:56
  • @user70848 The poster apparently edited their post and changed it to this. Fortunately, I copied the text into my question before that. Feb 24, 2016 at 17:17
  • 1
    If you want a non-Facebook example of the claim, try this: glennbeck.com/2016/02/18/… Feb 24, 2016 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


President Eisenhower — Justice Robert H. Jackson

President Eisenhower was in Colorado on October 12, 1954 and did not attend the funeral that day of Justice Robert H. Jackson, who died in office October 9, 1954. The Funeral was at Washington (Episcopal) National Cathedral.

See IKE IN DEFENSE OF WILSON ON JOBLESS VIEW Chicago Daily Tribune Wednesday 13 October 1954, Part 1, page 12 F. :

Eisenhower plans to fly to Washington Friday, ending an eight week Colorado vacation.

See also Tributes Paid Court Justice At Last Rites The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), 12 October 1954, page 12:

Episcopal rites at 3 p.m. EST. Atty. Gen. Herbert Brownell Jr. and other federal officials represented the administration in the absence of President Eisenhower who is in Denver and could not attend.

President Truman — Justices Wiley Rutledge and Frank Murphy

President Truman did not attend the funeral of Justice Wiley Rutledge who died in office 10 September 1949, as explained in the 14 September 1949 article Funeral Services For Wiley Rutledge Held in Washington Taylor Daily Press

Funeral services for the late supreme court justice, Wiley Rutledge will be held at All Soul’s Unitarian Church in Washington this afternoon. Honorary pallbearers at the funeral will be Rutledge’s fellow members on the supreme court. Chief Justice Fred Vinson will represent President Truman who said he would be unable to attend.

President Truman did not attend the funeral of Justice Frank Murphy who died in office July 19, 1949. According to the Toledo Blade article Murphy Funeral Set For Friday (page 21 of the 20 July 1949 edition):

Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin will represent President Truman

President Roosevelt — Justice Pierce Butler

When Justice Pierce Butler died in office 16 November 1939, President Roosevelt took a train that day to New York state where he stayed until the 19th.

Justice Pierce Butler had a first funeral at 11 AM, on the 17th at St. Matthew's in Washington. Roosevelt was in New York state at the time.

There was a second funeral for Pierce Butler on the 20th at St. Luke's in St. Paul, Minnesota. Roosevelt did not attend this funeral either, and instead returned to Washington from New York that day.

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