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Justice Ginsburg searches for legal lessons

It turns out lawyers and opera singers have more in common than booming voices and a love of melodrama.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is among the jurists who have looked for legal lessons in arias, and she got a chance Friday to indulge both passions at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Chicago...........

........Turning to Benjamin Britten’s tragic opera “Billy Budd,” the panelists were asked to consider whether the character of a ship captain might have found a way to spare the life of a sailor who was doomed to hang after being wrongfully accused of organizing a mutiny and killing his accuser out of frustration.

Accompanied by piano, a singer performed “I Accept Their Verdict,” the aria sung by Captain Vere after Billy Budd is court-martialed and sentenced to death.

“Well, I think there was” a way the captain could have saved him, Ginsburg said. “He didn’t have to impanel the court martial on a ship. He could have kept Billy and could have had the trial occur on British soil, but there was this tremendous fear of mutiny.”

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