I began laughing out loud on page 3. By page 20 I had tears rolling down my cheeks. At around page 40 I was howling. That was when the cats showed up, both of them, judiciously positioned themselves a safe 6 to 8 feet away and stared. Miss Woodhouse shut her eyes and shook her head. Miss Darcy gave me an icy stare and the Flehman response, which she tends to do when unduly stressed.
What we have here is an insider Washington novel that is accessible to anybody. We have all observed while the Senate Judiciary Committee eviscerated the finest judges in the country in the name of searching for a worthy Supreme Court justice. Buckley takes the situation just a little farther and using his off-the-wall imagination produces a situation that could almost - almost - be enacted on CNN in a year or two.
When the ghost of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, begins whispering in the ear of aging Associate Justice Brinnin it becomes clear that a "Vacancy" sign will soon hang in front of the Supreme Court. Whom will President Vanderdamp nominate.
His first candidate looks good. Never having had a decision overturned, he's a model of judicial rectitude. But as with so many judicial candidates his past comes back to haunt him. In his case it was a review for his elementary school newspaper written when he was 12: "Though the picture is overall OK, it's also kind of boring in other parts."
The head of the jucidiary committee "looked up, took off his glasses, paused as if fighting back tears, nodded philosophically, and said, 'Tell us, Judge, which parts of To Kill a Mockingbird did you find quote-unquote boring?'"
After another saintly and wise judge is turned down by the committee the president goes off to Camp David to try to relax. While channel surfing he comes upon the seventh most popular TV show in the US: Courtroom Six, a reality show presided over by Judge Pepper Cartwright, a sassy Texas gal. President Vanderdamp, in a fit of frustration nominates her.
How could a panel of politicians vote against the most popular judge in the nation? They can't and Pepper finds herself seated among the nine. Then the fun starts.
Christopher Buckley, Supreme Courtship (2008) 5 / 5 stars