From left, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan listen to President Obama deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg owes her colleagues Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy some drinks. But maybe she should stick to a cup of coffee … spiked with Red Bull.

The pair sat flanking the 81-year-old justice during President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and they did their level best to keep their obviously dozy colleague from totally nodding off  — something she’s done during more than one such speech.

This year, Ginsburg, put up a strong fight against the urge to snooze through the SOTU, fiddling with her gloves (yeah, she often wears a black lace pair) and blinking to keep her eyes open. But when that wasn’t enough, it was Kennedy and Breyer to the rescue: Kennedy delivered a sharp elbow at one point to rouse her, and Breyer did the yeoman’s work, subtly nudging her at least eight times (we counted) and frequently flicking his gaze to check on her.

They’re no strangers to such duties: in previous years, they’ve helped prop her up so she didn’t slump over in slumber.

And her propensity for sleeping through speeches apparently has nothing to do with the material, or with the noise level (she wasn’t  awoken by some of the most thunderous applause lines of the president’s address). Ginsburg credited her 2013 catnap to a “very good California wine” that Kennedy brought to a pre-SOTU dinner. Wonder if the Justices were pre-gaming again?

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