Dear Aunt Sophie,
I thought I’d never find myself in the ignominious position of writing to you for a third time. This must be what they mean when they say life plays dirty tricks.
I am writing as the spokesman for a judicial body that decides cases of great importance, like whether or not schoolchildren can be forced to mouth offensive references to what some people call “the deity”. We hold sway in the western part of the US, which is, of course, the most important jurisdiction in the country since it includes the great state of California (as California goes, so goes the nation).
Our problem is this - if the Supreme Court continues in the direction it’s taken lately they’ll stop overturning us and we’ll lose our distinction as the most overturned court in the country.
Recently we made it illegal for a business to fire an employee just because it discovered he was undocumented. You may think that since it’s against the law to hire undocumented workers in the first place it would be perfectly legal to fire them when you find out, but this is definitely not the case. The discovery that someone didn’t arrive on the QE2 is no excuse for discrimination. It’s downright un-American. How can anyone justify taking a job away from a person who has probably crawled through the desert by night to find work just because some fat American might want it? Besides, unemployment is already out of control in this country. How could we put yet another person out of work?
I suppose the owner of that business was afraid he’d be arrested for having hired an undocumented worker, and he probably can be now that he knows the man’s immigration status, but that’s his problem. If he loses, he can always appeal and we’ll see what we can do.
We’ve all spent our careers trying to uphold the Constitution while giving the people what they clearly want, even though they may not always know exactly what that is. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve earned the reputation for looking out for the little guy.
Now the Supremes come along and blow us out of the water. They hand down a decision that we could have written. They make it impossible to execute murderers who made their mistakes before they were eighteen. How come we never had the chance to do that? If things keep going this way, we’ll be totally eclipsed as the nation’s most forward-looking court.
What can we do to salvage our reputation?
Moe, Larry and Curley
Dear Moe, etc.,
The cliché that best explains your predicament has something to do with uneasy crowned heads. Unfortunately for you, you’ve been overshadowed by a formidable adversary. But don’t despair. I hope it’s an aberration. It’s hard to imagine that any other court could hit them out of the park as consistently as you have.
Although this is a difficult climate in which to stand out as truly progressive, if you put your collective will to it I’m sure you can still best the Supremes. A good beginning would be for you to declare that materially abetting terrorists is perfectly legal. Oops, I forgot - you’ve already done that.
Or perhaps you could require that our guests at Gitmo, you know, those fresh-faced youths who were caught playing a friendly game of grenade-launcher paintball with our sadistic twenty-somethings in Afghanistan, should be able to retain the services of Thomas Mesereau at taxpayer expense - if he ever finishes defending the Gloved One. Oh, drat -my memory must be playing tricks on me. You’ve already done that, too, haven’t you.
The best way to retain your position as the country’s loopiest assemblage of black robes would be to confine yourselves to criminal matters whenever possible. Ridiculous though it may be, more people get worked up over an axe murderer set free because his attorney forgot to wear a tie to court than over a suit against a cigarette company. But if you can’t avoid the occasional civil case, stick with the ones that give you a chance to declare everyday behavior unconstitutional, like smiling at a co-worker of the opposite sex or humming any tune by Irving Berlin on a public street.
If you can’t come up with any other way to denature the country, start reviewing the cases in your in-box to see if there isn’t something there that will give you a rationale for removing the letters G, O and D from the alphabet.
To stay ahead of the Supreme Court you’ll have to use all your imagination and ingenuity. But I’m sure you’re still up to it.
Good luck and God bless.