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Ruth Bader Ginsburg basks in lawyers’ musical roast

The famed Brooklyn daughter took the ribbing with a smile.

February 12, 2020 Caroline Ourso
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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The New York City Bar Association honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a play about the justice’s life and career last week, as part of a celebration marking the bar association’s 150th anniversary.

Members of the association’s Committee on Entertainment sang and danced during the 16-scene play, praising Justice Ginsburg’s work as a woman in law and as a Supreme Court justice known for her dissenting opinions.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The play was titled ‘Quando Ce Ne Sono Nove (When There Are Nine): A Night at the
Opera with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ and members of the bar practiced several days a
week leading up to the big show. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

“At the opera, RBG has described being overwhelmed by the sound of the human voice,” said Schwartz. “I feel confident in declaring, Justice, that we all are overwhelmed by the sound of your voice. Whether roaring in history, making dissents from which our progeny will learn, or delivering opinions for the majority that at once ignite and consolidate our society’s steps toward a more perfect union, your voice is like an electric current going through this nation.”

Various scenes portrayed Justice Ginsburg’s struggle in her earlier days to gain respect and be taken seriously as a woman in the legal profession, while others were more lighthearted, poking fun at her infamous lack of culinary skills.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Members of the Committee on Entertainment sing in a play about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
at the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

Justice Ginsburg’s surprising friendship with the late Justice Anthony Scalia, heartwarming commentary on commonality and a saxophone-playing Bill Clinton (played by Trey Sandusky) had the audience rolling.

Kevin Schwartz, who previously served as a law clerk for Justice Ginsburg, provided testimony on Justice Ginsburg’s status as a feminist icon by describing her exceptional work ethic and strong commitment to furthering equal rights for women.

Ginsburg, a child of Brooklyn, thanked everyone involved during a brief speech after watching the nearly two-hour “night at the opera” from her front-row seat.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks after a play honoring her put on by the New York City Bar
Association. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

“I have no words for what tonight meant to me,” she said in a characteristically tempered tone. “I wouldn’t have changed a single line. Bravo to all involved in this production.

“My participation in City Bar endeavors has been diverse, engaging and richly rewarding,” Justice Ginsburg concluded. “Congratulations on its 150th anniversary, and every best wish for the next 150 years.”

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