October 18, 2027
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: We’ll hear arguments this morning in the case of Acme Jams and Jellies v. Marvo Peanut Butter Corp.
MR. RASPBERRY: May it please the court: I represent Acme Jams and Jellies in a case that shows that Marvo Peanut Butter Corp. stole secret recipe information from—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Can you speak up please? I don’t think my fellow justices can hear you.
MR. RASPBERRY: Of course, Madame Chief Justice, but there are no fellow justices.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: What? They were here a minute ago.
MR. RASPBERRY: Perhaps you are confused, Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Mr. Justice Breyer, he was here, I’m sure of it. He had an ice-cream company, didn’t he? I always thought it was better than Ben and Jerry’s, didn’t you?
MR. RASPBERRY: Well, the general opinion on—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG (looking around): Maybe he’s on a bathroom break.
MR. RASPBERRY: Mr. Justice Breyer retired seven years ago.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Ah. Right. Well then, Mr. Justice Thomas.
MR. RASPBERRY: I’m afraid, Madame Chief Justice, that Mr. Justice Thomas left the court, too. Don’t you recall? Then the Senate was unable to confirm anyone nominated after that because one party or the other played the nuclear option and—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Nuclear? I’m against it. Always have been since I used to have to dive under my desk in grade school.
MR. RASPBERRY: No, Ma’am, don’t you remember that—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: You know, son, I can remember a lot of things from a hundred and four years ago—my mother trying to pull on my leggings while I cried—but I haven’t the foggiest notion about what I ate for breakfast today, ha ha. You aren’t a doctor, are you?
MR. RASPBERRY: No, Your honor. But if I may call your attention once again to the jams—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Do you have any samples with you?
MR. RASPBERRY: Ma’am?
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Don’t you think it would be a swell idea to have a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich on some Wonder Bread right about now? It’s been a long morning, right? Already, my great great granddaughter calls me and wants me to intercede because her mother won’t let her go to the prom with—well, that’s another story. What is the issue in your case, Sir?
MR. RASPBERRY: Well, Your Honor, I admit I had to rush it together because I never thought you’d consider taking this one up with all that’s going on in—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Why did I choose this case? To be frank, I could have chosen my last case before retirement from any of the hundreds sent my way. But I thought, why should I rule on the death penalty? What business is it of mine? The legality of marriage between a Republican and Democrat? Who’d ever think of such a thing anyway? Marijuana for all? Of course. Why not? We should have a bong right here on the bench. Whether President Trump exceeded Constitutional limits by serving four terms in a row? Why do I care? Say, what flavors do you have there, Mr. Raspberry? And is your co-counsel Mr. Strawberry, ha ha. Or Mr. Boisenberry. Or Poisonberry. I’ve got a million of ’em, I tell you.
MR. RASPERRY: I stand alone today, your honor. Now, if I may, on August 23, 2021, an industrial spy masquerading as an OSHA inspector—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Ocean inspector? What part of the ocean? Which ocean? Always wanted to travel, but my husband, what’s his name, was a stick in the mud. “Next year,” he always said, whenever I suggested a vacation. “Ruth, what’s the matter with staying home? Who cares what colors the leaves are in Vermont?”
MR. RASPBERRY: The Court has ruled in past cases that—
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: You mean precedent?
MR. RASPBERRY: Yes, Madame Chief Justice.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: What a novel idea, young man. You are a smart devil. Where did you grow up?
MR. RASPBERRY: I’m from Connecticut.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Connecticut? Where’s that?
MR. RASPBERRY: Well, if you get in your car in New York City and drive to Boston you have to pass through it. But with all due respect, Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Oh, I do love that phrase, “with all due respect.” It signifies what follows is something awful. You know, I do believe our society has become much more uncivilized since President Trump’s first term, don’t you think?
MR. RASPBERRY: My time is almost up. The red light is blinking. Can I continue with my argument?
CHIEF JUSTICE GINSBURG: Argument? Were we having an argument? Can you pass the jam?
Lary Bloom is the author or coauthor of several books, including Letters From Nuremberg, The Test of Our Times, The Ignorant Maestro, and an upcoming biography of the artist Sol LeWitt. His plays include Wild Black Yonder and A Woman of a Certain Age (lyricist). He teaches in Yale University’s summer writing conference and coaches playwrights, novelists, and memoirists.