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Scalia/Ginsburg: The Rhythm of the US Federal Supreme Court

  • Francesca BenattiEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The paper analyses the comic opera in one act SCALIA/GINSBURG by Wang that premiered in 2015 at the Castleton Festival. Its subject is the real-life friendship and the fights in the court between two of the most famous judges of the US Federal Supreme Court. They embodied two opposite views on society, law and especially constitutional interpretation. While Justice Scalia was conservative and believed that the meaning of the Constitution should be what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have declared the ordinary meaning of the text to be (originalism), Justice Ginsburg is liberal and supports the view that its meaning should evolve with the times. By examining the libretto, the article focuses on some famous and controversial decisions of the US Federal Supreme Court that show the divergent views of Scalia and Ginsburg.

Towards the end of the opera, they sing a duet “We are different, we are one”. It enlightens that despite their different interpretation of written texts and ideological and intellectual disagreements they were united by their reverence towards the institution and especially the Constitution.

However this debate in the Supreme Court is also a sign of the general struggle of the constitutional courts to decide fundamental issues and it raises the question of their legitimacy to address these issues since their role is becoming more and more political.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PadovaPadovaItaly

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