by Adam Liptak
WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia loved opera, but he also had a soft spot for Bob Dylan.
In a 2010 dissent, for instance, he chastised the majority for refusing to answer key questions in a case about sexually explicit text messages because technology was evolving so fast.
“The-times-they-are-a-changin’ is a feeble excuse for disregard of duty,” he wrote.
Justice Scalia was in good company. Mr. Dylan has long been the most cited songwriter in judicial opinions, saidAlex B. Long, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and the author of a 2012 study, “The Freewheelin’ Judiciary: A Bob Dylan Anthology,” published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal.
It was a 2008 dissent from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that really opened the floodgates, Professor Long said. “Judges’ inclination to go to Dylan has actually increased in the past few years, probably as a result of Roberts’s dissent in that case,” he said.
Dylan citations are booming in other fields as well. A study last year found 213 references to his lyrics in medical papers. (One was called “Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind.”)