Justice Ginsburg on Opera and the Constitution

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Written By admin at Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Associated Press
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

There’s no doubt that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows a lot about the law. But she’s also an expert on the opera.

And it’s no coincidence. The two apparently go hand-in-hand.

On Friday, Justice Ginsburg took a break from her duties as a member of the high court to appear as the main attraction on a panel at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Chicago called, “Arias of Law: The Rule of Law at Work in Opera and the Supreme Court.”

“The founders of our country were great men with a vision,” Justice Ginsburg said. “They were held back from realizing their idea by the times in which they lived.

But, she added, their notion was that society would evolve and that the clauses of the Constitution would grow with society.

“The Constitution would always be in tune with society that the law is meant to serve.”

In tune, indeed.

The panel included performances by members of the Ryan Opera Center and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Among them, “I Accept Their Verdict” from Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd and “When I Went To The Bar,” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.

Justice Ginsburg was joined on the panel by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. and Anthony Freud, the general director of the Chicago’s Lyric Opera, himself a trained attorney. Craig Martin, a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm, Jenner & Block LLP, moderated the panel.

A hand-out for the panel kicked off the discussion by noting that some say lawyers are like opera singers because they love the sound of their own voices.

Justice Ginsburg’s love of the opera is quite well known, by the way. She’s made cameo appearances in Washington National Opera productions

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