America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)



Republicans Expose Obama's Supreme Court Nominees

2 April 2016

Afraid their majority might not be in total accord about denying a Supreme Court nominee a hearing during Obama’s last year as President, the GOP has enlisted the assistance of the Republican National Committee. The RNC task force will “vet” any nominee and evaluate his or her “real record’.  Most potential candidates for the Supreme Court pay their taxes, lack arrest records and tend to be good citizens. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be Circuit Court Justices, heads of universities, founders of leading law firms, and notable philanthropists. Finding incriminating evidence against them could be labor intensive, costly and eventually disappointing. With all the GOP’s current problems, you can’t blame them for not wanting this extra responsibility, can you?

Though the possible SCOTUS justices chosen by President Obama asked that their actual names won’t be mentioned, they have no problem with their qualifications being described. We’re sacrificial lambs anyway, the nominees agreed, admitting that the President’s endorsement was an honor, even if it remained a family secret. Fortunately, most are young enough for a second chance in the foreseeable future.


He’s that recent phenomenon, a hereditary Southern Democrat, now a moderate Republican; editor of the Harvard Law Review, Assistant District Attorney, ten years in the Atlanta firm he founded.  He’s appeared before the Supreme Court twice, winning favorable decisions on both occasions. John Doe 1 has a strong civil rights record, does a generous amount of pro-bono work, and was an Olympic alternate swimmer in 1984.  Incidentally, he’s a direct descendant of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


President Obama has also nominated the author of four legal textbooks; two on fraud, two on environmental law. His work on fraud was short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Economics. This candidate clerked for Justice Scalia, considers himself an enlightened conservative, and is currently teaching Constitutional Law at Stanford. Students sign up for his classes when they’re college sophomores, before they have even decided to apply to law school. John Doe 2 will also add diversity to the Court, though he has not publicized the particular qualities that make that possible. To do so might make him the subject of unwanted attention.


Finding a nominee with an equally impeccable professional reputation could be challenging.  Currently Chief Justice for a US Court of Appeals, John Doe 3 has asked that his circuit not be identified, though his major decisions are considered legal milestones. A Rhodes Scholar, he read law at Oxford; the only American to win a First Class BA in Jurisprudence for his essay on the Magna Carta. The dreaming spires made me a Tory, he said, though he declared himself non-partisan upon his return to the United States. After 5 years as an Assistant US Attorney, he joined an international law firm. John Doe 3 speaks fluent French and Spanish, fair German and basic Mandarin.  


So far, the RNC team investigating John Doe 1 has learned that he is indeed a direct descendant of John Jay, but only on the maternal side. They have also found that he was cited by a California sheriff for the traffic infraction known as a California glide, in which the driver stops for a stop sign, but does not stop and start again after the car in front of him proceeds. John Doe 1 paid a fine of $240 dollars in 2003. Nothing more could be found on his public record, though his professional biography is impressive.

The RNC team assigned to John Doe 2 discovered that he has lived a double life, using a pseudonym to keep a dark secret from his professional colleagues. After graduation from Princeton, he performed at a New York City comedy club for an entire year, appearing frequently on Saturday nights throughout 1982. Moreover, his morality could be questionable because he lived with a woman for 17 months beginning in 1986, only marrying her in 1988, after both graduated from Columbia Law School.

The RNC researchers admit to despair with their vetting process for John Doe 3. They had planned to prove that an Oxford BA in Jurisprudence is not a qualification for practicing law in the United States, but failed to do so when they discovered that John Doe 3 has not only passed the Bar examination in five U.S. states, but fulfilled every requirement for an English barrister. While in England, he did not pay his television licensing fee of £125.50 when he bought the set; watched TV illegally for a month, then pleaded ignorance of the law. The BBC forgave the debt, and he is now a major sponsor of Masterpiece Theater; awarded the OBE for support of the arts.

An author, journalist and playwright, Elaine Kendall reviewed books weekly for the LA Times from 1980 to 1997. Her books of American cultural history are The Upper Hand; (changing roles of men & women) The Happy Mediocrity; (architecture, clothing, food) Peculiar Institutions; (the beginning of women’s colleges) & Seeing Europe Again (an anthology of travel pieces). The first three were published by Little, Brown & Putnam; the fourth by Capra Press. Her articles have appeared in many national magazines & newspapers, particularly the NY Times & LA Times.