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Justice Ginsburg Takes Over Chicago Radio as Guest DJ

Chicagoland radio fans got a bit of a Supreme Court treat this morning. Chicagoans who turned their dial to 98.7 FM WFMT found themselves listening to a rare guest DJ: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Notorious RBG took over the airwaves as a guest host for the afternoon.

This wasn't your regular Top 40 tunes, though. Justice Ginsburg didn't drop any gangsta rap (though she's admitted she's becoming more familiar with the genre). There were no original RBG dubstep remixes either. Instead, Justice Ginsburg spun tunes from her favorite genres: classical music and opera.

From the High Court to Disc Jockey

How did a small classical music radio station land a Supreme Court Justice? They had some help from Justice Ginsburg's son, James Ginsburg. James, who joined Justice Ginsburg on the broadcast, inherited his mother's love for classical music; he runs the nonprofit classical music label Cedille Records and is no stranger to the Chicago classical music scene. The mother-son pair broadcast alongside WFMT host Lisa Flynn during her midday show.

Sadly, for those who missed it, the fat lady has sung and the curtain has dropped on Justice Ginsburg's brief DJ career. (It's possible that WFMT will add the segment to its music library or featured audio, though nothing has been uploaded by Monday afternoon.)

Highlights From DJ Ginsburg

Thankfully, Above the Law gave a minute by minute breakdown of the performance. Here are some highlights from the live show:

  • Justice Ginsburg mentioned that "Opera presents certain difficulties for a feminist." Indeed. It's an artistic genre whose most famous female characters are fallen women, from the seductress Carmen to the murderous Tosca. But then again, opera also invented the diva, so it can't all be terrible.
  • If you want to clerk for RBG, make an opera joke. Apparently, she's hired Supreme Court clerks on the spot for their ability to crack wise about Wagner.
  • Speaking of Wagner, Justice Ginsburg played from his Ring Cycle. (Not familiar? Check out this three minute animation explaining the 15-hour epic. Then go get a job at the Supreme Court.) She also played pieces from Phillip Glass and the opera Billy Budd. She even threw in "Anita's Story," which apparently was composed just for Justice Ginsburg herself.
  • She loved "Scalia/Ginsburg." That opera, based around the odd friendship between the two Justices, debuted this summer and helped start RBG's summer "opera odyssey."

We don't expect Justice Ginsburg to ever retire, but if she does, it's good to know she'll have a career as a disc jockey to fall back on.

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