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Justice Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent is grist for ‘Song a Day’ musician

Posted Jul 2, 2014 10:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A musician who has been writing daily songs since 2009, even while in the throes of food poisoning (“I’ve been puking up my guts!” he croons), has borrowed from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent in his 2007th daily ditty.

The writer is Jonathan Mann, report Salon, People magazine and Above the Law.

Mann plucks words from Ginsburg’s dissent to a ruling on Monday that found closely held corporations can't be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives over their owners' religious objections. She chided the majority for a “decision of startling breadth” and warned, “The court I fear has ventured into a minefield.”

Mann used the minefield quote for his refrain, which takes some liberties with Ginsburg’s dissent. (She didn’t really say anything about “slut shaming geezers,” or write the other lines that followed.) Mann’s lyrics, as recounted by People:

“The court I fear/Has ventured into a minefield/Slut-shaming geezers/And religious extremism/One thing's clear/This fight isn't over/We gotta stand together/For what we know is right.”

Some parts of the song more closely follow Ginsburg’s text. These lyrics, for example, leave out the word “in this regard,” but otherwise follow Ginsburg:

“It bears note [in this regard] that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”

Here is another lyric by Mann, with Ginsburg’s extra words in brackets:

“Approving some religious claims/While deeming others unworthy [of accommodation]/Could be perceived as favoring one religion over another.”

Ginsburg also used the introductory word “indeed” in the above quote, added a phrase at the end and used quotation marks to refer to language taken from another decision.

Mann has tackled legal subjects before. In one daily song, he used phrases from the Justice Department’s memos approving harsh interrogations for terrorism suspects.

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