Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is well aware that when it comes to the number of laughs Supreme Court justices earn during oral arguments, she is, as she put it during remarks made Friday, “the least funny justice who talks.”
But Ginsburg was quite funny during her speech at the annual convention of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy in Washington. She noted that even during oral arguments, she’s funny when it counts. Even the New York Times picked up on her funniest moment this term during oral arguments in the case Zivotofsky v. Clinton in November.
When a lawyer pointed out that only those born in Jerusalem before 1948 have the option of listing Palestine as their place of birth on their passports, Justice Elena Kagan, who was born in 1960, said: “Well, you have to be very old to list Palestine.”
“I intervened on behalf of persons aged 64 and older,” Ginsburg told the ACS crowd Friday, drawing laughter, “mindful that next year I will turn 80, God willing. ‘Not all that old,’ I told my colleague.”
And discussing the questions presented in the pending health care law challenge, she gently jabbed at her bench mate Justice Antonin G. Scalia by summarizing one issue in the case as: “may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of it?”
More on Ginsburg’s speech, including her prediction of sharply-divided opinions, can be found here on Lawyers USA.