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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

Supreme Courtship

Supreme Courtship - Christopher Buckley, Anne Celeste Heche What better way to prepare for the upcoming Supreme Court nominee hearings than to indulge in the ironic-humor-on-every-page writing of Christopher Buckley. This book imagines that political polarization has reached a point where it is impossible for anybody nominated by the president to be confirmed by the Senate. Then through a surprising twist of fate only possible in the context of American politics, a popular but enormously unqualified woman (combination of Judge Judy, Sarah Palin, and yellow rose of Texas) is confirmed to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. It's then Katie bar the door with hilarious fun breaking out in all directions in the midst of Constitutional, international and personal crises.

A chapter devoted to the new justice's first case on the court stretches legal Latin beyond the limits of credulity. Since the author's name is Buckley, I'm pretty sure it's all good Latin. However, the cases referenced surely must be fictional. I think the point being made is that the justices are more concerned with one-upping each other with their inflated knowledge of cases and legalese than with justice. " ... it was a clear-cut case of 'interrebus quod aspecto' and that it had absolutely zero bearing 'per res sciatica.' When the new justice interrupts the arguments her mind goes blank, and she can think of only two words to say, "Quasi & modo." She is then asked, "... do you think 'Quasimodo v. Notre Dame Bellringers Guild' has application here?"

Buckley shoots one-liners and modern-day-proverbs out with such rapidity one can't help but wonder what sort of mind generated them. Is it a clever wit at work? Or a demented mind? Here are some examples:

On the virtues of procrastination:
Short of nuclear warheads that have already been launched, there is no situation that cannot be met head-on with inaction.

On the political temperature:
Nothing raises the national temperature more than a VACANCY sign hanging from the colonnaded front of the supreme Court.

Man speaking to woman:
"I Googled you, ... Sounds almost indecent, doesn't it?"

The nominee telling the Senators what the viewing public is saying about their hearing:
".... wake me up if they find public hair on any Coke cans."

The response to the preceding comment above:
"Nineteen senators stared mutely at the nominee."

The following isn't exactly a one liner, but I love the historical associations:
How many times had those awful words - "I know what I'm doing" - been uttered throughout history as prelude to disaster? The night before Waterloo in Napoleon's tent? In the Reichschancellery before invading Soviet Russia? Before the "cakewalk" known as Operation Iraqi Freedom?

There's even a quotation of William F. Buckley Jr. cited in the text by this disinterested author. I've decided not to repeat the quote here. You can find it yourself.

Not only is Buckley lampooning all three branches of the federal government, he takes pot shots at reality television, the writers of The West Wing, and the uninformed populace. Hmmm, that includes you and me! He even has the court deciding the outcome of a presidential election. How far-fetched can a novel be! We know that could never happen in real life.