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Wine, Women and Song at the Supreme Court

By Kevin Fayle on October 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
It's not all hard work at the Supreme Court these days, apparently. 

While the Court is currently wrapping up the first month of the 2009 October Term, some of the justices have snuck out of the dreary confines of One First Street and gone out on the town(s) for a taste of the nightlife.
First comes word via Above the Law that Justices Scalia and Ginsburg took in a night at the opera together on Saturday in DC.  The justices saw the opening performance of "Ariadne auf Naxos" at the Washington National Opera, where they were seated in a special VIP section onstage. 

At one point, Justice Scalia even participated in the performance when soprano Lyubov Petrova jumped onto his lap, much to the amusement of the audience.

At least one author, Josh Blackman, queried whether Scalia would consider this sort of lapdance worthy of First Amendment protection, despite his rulings in Barnes v. Glen Theatre Inc. and Erie v. Pap's A.M.  Protected speech or not, the opera-loving justice is clearly enjoying himself in the photo on Above the Law's site.

Author Gay Talese reports that he had an intoxicating encounter with Chief Justice John Roberts at a Manhattan restaurant on Saturday as well.

Apparently the chief justice was seated with his wife at the table next to Talese's party.  Talese's table did their best to pretend not to notice Roberts, until the chief justice made contact himself.  As Talese recounts:

. . . as they stood to leave, the chief justice himself said: "Excuse me, but we cannot possibly finish this wonderful bottle of wine, and I wonder if you'd like to try it."

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Chief Justice,'' I replied, and then added my own admonishment (how brazen of me!) "... but only if you'll sign the label.''
I'm not so sure the chief justice was entirely thrilled about being asked to sign a wine bottle label, although Talese does say that Roberts whipped out a pen and signed the bottle without hesitation.

And as one commenter pointed out, Roberts' move ensured that not a drop of wine was wasted.  Nice.

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