As a Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia (or, more pointedly, his opinions) are a polarizing force. Although gruff and cantankerous from the bench, he’s apparently not such a bad guy outside the courtroom. After all, we’ve heard reports of hunting trips with Justice Kagan, and it’s been reported that he has eaten New Year’s Eve dinner with Justice Ginsburg since 1982. Apparently, he’s the funniest Justice, too, eliciting more laughter with his comments than any other, according to Boston University law Prof. Jay Wexler.
Justices Scalia and Ginsburg also share a love of opera, as reported by U.S. News & World Report in a 2007 piece:
An opera aficionado, Scalia, along with fellow Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appeared as an extra in a 1994 production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Scalia appeared onstage for about an hour and a half during the second act in a costume first worn by Plácido Domingo during the world première of Goya in 1986.
Well, apparently, the opera connection doesn’t end there. According to NPR’s Nina Totenberg, and reported on NPR, a new opera about these two legal heavyweights has been completed. The composer, Derrick Wang, is a new graduate of the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law, who heard music in the opinions and dissents:
I realized this is the most dramatic thing I’ve ever read in law school … and I started to hear music — a rage aria about the Constitution,” Wang said. “And then, in the midst of this roiling rhetoric, counterpoint, as Justice Ginsburg’s words appeared to me — a beacon of lyricism with a steely strength and a fervent conviction all their own. And I said to myself, ‘This is an opera.’
Well, the opera is finished, and Justices Scalia and Ginsburg got a preview last month at the Supreme Court, the day after the Court’s term ended. No news yet on whether it will be performed elsewhere, but in our opinion, the highest court isn’t exactly community theater.