Chapter 03

Equal Justice Under Law

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Justice: Chapter 03

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SUMMARY: The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is dead. Now, with control of the Court hanging in the balance for the first time in years, the race is on to fill this critical vacancy. Who will the President nominate? Will a closely divided Senate approve his choice or will partisan politics derail the nomination? Only one thing is certain. There will be winners and losers and the balance of power may shift in the country depending upon the outcome. In the process, careers will be affected, reputations made and lost, and friendships tested. But which side will ultimately prevail is far from clear. Please note that italics are typically used within the story to indicate what a character is thinking or saying to himself.

WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Unless otherwise indicated by context, all of the characters in this story are fictional, not depictions of real people. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting that you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.

NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters or fictional locations described in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Similarly, you may not use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way without such permission. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.

COMMENTS: Comments are welcome. You can either email me directly or leave a reply at the end of the chapter. A first name (pseudonyms welcome) and valid email address are required to leave a reply, but your email address will not be published. Nor will it be sold, shared, given away or otherwise used for any other purpose.

NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so. June 30, 2017: As this is written, it’s the last day of June, Gay Pride Month. If you believe in justice as something to strive for, not just a story to be read, check this post and this resource to see what’s happening in your state and then take a stand for equality.

JUSTICE

Chapter 3

Thursday morning dawned quietly in Washington as the nation slowly tried to come to grips with the news from the previous day. Some people loved Justice Saviano and were distraught by his death. Others hated the man passionately and only with the greatest restraint suppressed the instinct to cheer his passing.

Surprisingly, given the circumstances, many people had no opinion at all, perhaps because they were too busy trying to make a living or never paid attention to what happened in the nation’s capital anymore. They hated Washington and their numbers were growing with each passing day.

But because most Americans still took their cues from the news media and the familiar voices on television were speaking in hushed tones about what had transpired, most people sensed something important had changed with the death of the Chief Justice.

And so much of the nation paused and tried to catch its breath on Thursday while waiting to see what would come next.

In Washington, however, life moved on.

****

On Capitol Hill, in a meeting room in the Hart Senate Office Building that had been hastily secured through the friendly auspices of Senator Morgan McBride, aides to conservative members of Congress were beginning to gather as the morning dawned. They had been summoned to the room by the Director of Policy Services at the Constitutional Studies Institute, Kimberly Dunn.

Dunn had spent much of the previous day fielding calls from the many rich and powerful donors who secretly funded the work of the Institute, the first among equals of the many conservative organizations and think tanks based in the nation’s capital.

Her callers were alarmed by the death of Justice Saviano; even more alarmed at the prospect of a Democratic President shifting the balance of the Court for decades by appointing someone like Vaughn Carroll to fill the vacancy that had been created.

They understood the Supreme Court was the last line of defense holding back change in America and they were counting on the Institute to rally the forces committed to fighting anarchy in the country. Having spent the day trying to reassure the Institute’s patrons, Dunn had convened the meeting Thursday morning with two purposes in mind.

One was to discover how conservative members of Congress were reacting to the news of Justice Saviano’s death. She believed it was important for them to be speaking out forcefully at this time; to remind Americans just what a tragic loss the nation had suffered in the hope they could shape the coverage of this event in a way that would benefit the conservative cause.

More immediately, she was hoping the aides who came to the meeting would agree to draw up a common declaration they could present to their bosses for approval. Assuming enough members of the Senate and House signed on, the statement could then be issued under their joint signatures following the funeral on Saturday.

Kimberly Dunn believed doing this would instill a sense of collective commitment while also sending a message to President Harrison Long that conservatives were watching developments closely and were not about to roll over and play dead.

Too much was at stake to tolerate the appointment of some liberal provocateur like Vaughn Carroll, a man Dunn hated because she understood he was committed to overturning two decades of what she considered sound judicial opinion. Kimberly had been working feverishly since learning of Justice Saviano’s death to make all of this happened.

She had secured the meeting room. Knowing the attraction free food held for those who worked on the Hill, she had arranged for the meeting to be catered in order to entice Congressional aides to it. She and her staff had spent hours putting out word about the meeting and making sure important conservative staff would be in attendance.

Key to doing that was letting them know Senator Morgan McBride had blessed the event.

She had also called the Washington Post to reserve space in the Sunday edition for whatever statement conservatives eventually agreed on. Most important of all, she had taken a stab at the first draft of the common declaration she was planning to promote.

Now, looking at her work, she was pleased.

A CALL TO CONSCIENCE

Yesterday we mourned the loss of one of the greatest Americans to ever live. In his commitment to the fundamental Constitutional principles on which the United States was founded and his devotion to the American ideals bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers, Justice Anthony Saviano was second to none.

Wednesday morning he was welcomed into the ranks of Heaven and embraced by the greatest Chief Justice of all, John Marshall. Finally allowed to lay down the heavy burden he had carried for so many years, he mingled at last with the heroes of his youth; true American patriots like Washington, Hamilton, and all those who have fought to preserve and protect America against its enemies, foreign and domestic.

This is a sad time for our country and our prayers are with Justice Saviano’s wife and loved ones today. We would do them no service, however, if we allowed the nation to forget the core principles and high standards he brought to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Saviano believed our Founding Fathers had fought and died for every word of the Constitution and that the task of the Court was to pass on the legacy they had bequeathed to future generations unchanged.

Not for them the sunshine patriot who believes the Constitution is a dead letter best ignored in the face of all the challenges contemporary life throws our way; or worse still, a living document requiring adaptation and reinterpretation by each new generation of Americans.

He believed words the Founding Fathers considered good enough for America when they were written were still good enough for us today.

We share that view.

Anthony Saviano was a man of principle and we call upon the President to nominate someone with as strong a commitment to Constitutional principles as Chief Justice Saviano. It is incumbent upon us, as with every new generation of Americans, to defend those principles with the same courage and dedication that Justice Saviano brought to the task.

We will never support any nominee to replace Justice Saviano who would defend the Constitution any less rigorously than he did, especially those in lower courts who were constantly seeking to limit or overturn the decisions the Court handed down under his brilliant leadership.

We remind our fellow Americans that the replacement of a member of the Court is a shared responsibility. The Constitution entrusts the President with the power to nominate a successor, but only with the advice and consent of the Senate can he or she be elevated to such an august position.

The advice and consent clause of the Constitution is not a mere formality. It is a sacred responsibility to be taken seriously.

By signing this statement today, we wish to assure the American people it is a responsibility we take seriously; and that we will fight to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States so help us God.

“Could everyone please be seated?” Dunn urged, rapping the little gavel she had brought along to get the attention of those in attendance. “We have a lot of work to get done today; the sooner we get started, the better. Thanks for coming.”

****

At the rectory of Our Lady of Fatima in Bethesda, Maryland, Father John Saviano sat down at his desk, turned on his computer, and began typing. He had not gotten very much sleep the previous two evenings. Between comforting his mother, responding to calls from various dignitaries, and helping make all the necessary arrangements for Saturday with his brothers, he had found little time to rest.

And what little he found was mostly spent tossing and turning as he tried to figure out exactly what he should say to eulogize his father. Realizing the next two days would bring a succession of challenges people would look to him to resolve, he realized he didn’t have any time to waste.

So he began pulling together the words he would use on Saturday to say a final farewell; not just to his father but to someone who had done everything he could to mold John Saviano into the man he wanted him to be. Much to his regret, his father had not been entirely successful in that task. But he had shaped his son more in some ways than most fathers did with their progeny.

By now fully absorbed in the task he had set for himself that morning, Father Saviano was annoyed when the intercom buzzed.

“I thought I told you I didn’t want to be interrupted,” he snapped at the young girl who was helping out with the phones that day.

“I’m sorry, Father,” she apologized, “but it’s the Cardinal on the other line. I thought you would want to talk to him.”

“Of course,” Reverend Saviano replied. “I apologize.”

Then punching the other line, he turned his attention elsewhere.

“Good morning, Your Eminence,” he greeted the man who, in addition to being his boss, was also his spiritual leader. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, John, fine,” Cardinal Donald Wells responded. “How are you holding up?”

“I’m doing okay,” Saviano answered. “It’s just that there’s so much to do and so little time to do it.”

“I understand, my son,” the Cardinal responded. “Perhaps it helps that you and your mother have decided to hold a smaller ceremony next month to honor your father. That way you can keep your eye focused on using Mass this Saturday to spread the gospel of our beloved savior, Jesus Christ.”

“Exactly,” Father Saviano said, nodding his head in agreement.

“But the reason I called, John, is I wanted to know who’ll be speaking at the funeral on Saturday?” the Cardinal added.

“We’re trying to keep it simple, Your Eminence. You wouldn’t believe how many political dignitaries would like to speak, but we want to keep the Mass and the burial as simple as possible so we’re not going to permit that.”

“Is the President planning to attend?” the Cardinal asked.

“No,” Father Saviano replied. “One of my brothers talked to the White House yesterday. They understand what a logistical nightmare it would create if he attended so they’re planning to send the Vice President instead.”

“Just as well,” Cardinal Wells sniffed. “Your father would have been very unhappy if Harrison Long showed up at his funeral; and I would have been tempted myself to call the man out in my own remarks. That was the main reason I was calling; to see how we could best coordinate our comments, John.”

On the other end of the receiver, Father Saviano took a deep breath. Knowing how much the Cardinal delighted in occasions like this where he could lecture Washington about whatever was on his mind, he hesitated momentarily before finally speaking up.

“Uh, well, that’s extremely thoughtful of you, Your Eminence; calling to coordinate your remarks with mine. But, um, my brothers and I had a long conversation with our mother about this and she really would like to keep the ceremony as brief as possible.”

“We talked about possibly having you say a few words at the committal service at the grave, but my mother only wants one very brief eulogy; the one I’m giving. She says Dad hated eulogies with a passion and wouldn’t want people commending him that way. Would you be available to say some words at the committal service, Your Eminence?”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line.

“Actually I have a long standing engagement that will keep me from attending the committal service,” the Cardinal replied, coolly. “Indeed, I’m trying to rearrange things as we speak to make the funeral itself. But if you don’t want me to speak, I’ll certainly understand. It’s a bit unusual, of course, but not a problem.”

Just from the tone of his voice, Father Saviano knew that it was indeed a problem for His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wells, and that the man would be offended if he was not given a prominent role in the funeral Mass itself.

“Perhaps I should speak to my mother about this again, Your Eminence,” he finally replied. “An event like this is always a big shock and my mother may not have realized your interest in saying a few words about Dad at the funeral.”

“Why don’t you do that, John?” the Cardinal responded. “But you’ll have to let me know what she wants to do very quickly. I’m incredibly busy these days and don’t have a lot of time to spend pulling my thoughts together. I would want to do a good job for your father if she wants me to say a few words. He was a pillar of the Church, you know, not just the nation.”

“I’ll call her immediately,” Father Saviano said.

“Excellent,” the Cardinal responded, abruptly hanging the phone up.

****

In the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States, a place usually much quieter at such an early hour, workers were scurrying about putting the finishing touches on the catafalque on which the body of Justice Saviano would soon be placed for public viewing.

The task wasn’t an especially difficult one, but it was time consuming and those in charge of getting the Great Hall ready realized time was slipping away.

The doors to the Great Hall would be flung open precisely at 10 a.m. and it was important for everything to be finished by then. Driven by a sense of urgency, those tasked with readying the Hall encouraged the workers to quicken their pace.

Less invested in the process, the workers continued to go about their jobs in a manner better suited for the morning hour. That included refilling the cups of coffee that helped ward off the drowsiness that came from starting work early as well as sneaking a doughnut from the many boxes there to nourish their bodies.

****

At the White House the President fidgeted in his Oval Office chair as the Prime Minister of Israel droned on and on. Harrison Long felt more like a student being lectured to by one of his high school teachers than the President of the United States.

He silently cursed himself for letting Wayne Taylor talk him into keeping his meeting with the Prime Minister. The death of Chief Justice Saviano had provided an excuse for cancelling their session and the President was sorry he hadn’t insisted on taking it.

Not that a Chief Justice’s death was a great excuse, the President realized, but it was at least a plausible excuse for postponing the meeting to some future time when the Prime Minister would be in the country again; or if not cancelling the meeting entirely, shortening it significantly.

But Wayne had told him it would be a mistake to do something like that; that the President of the United States was expected to be someone capable of multi-tasking and that there was no reason to treat an important American friend and ally that way.

At some level the President understood all of this and had agreed to go forward with the session on Thursday in spite of his reservations. And even though he was cursing himself now for doing that, he realized Wayne was right. Too many people would have been offended; and it wasn’t like the world came to a stop when a Supreme Court Justice died after all.

What bothered the President more was that the Prime Minister was monopolizing their conversation; refusing to allow the President to get in a word edgewise. Like all of his meetings with the Prime Minister, he had been forced to sit there for the first fifteen minutes listening to the man criticize his approach to the Middle East as soft, confused, and muddle-headed; not at all the kind of tough-minded approach the Prime Minister believed was needed.

Once finished complaining about that, the Prime Minister had launched into a passionate plea for a substantial increase in American military aid. The Arabs posed an existential threat to Israel’s very existence, he argued. Hence it was critical for Israel to maintain its qualitative military advantage against any possible combination of Arab foes.

This in spite of the fact that there hadn’t been a Middle East war aimed at Israel’s destruction in more than six decades.

Finally, annoyed at being lectured and no longer willing to tolerate it, the President broke in.

“The only time I ever see all that military aid we give you being used is against the Palestinians, Mr. Prime Minister,” the President said. “I realize you have no interest in addressing their legitimate concerns, but do you think you could use some of our military aid to help fight all those terrorist groups in your part of the world we seem to be constantly battling alone?”

“That isn’t fair,” the Prime Minister replied, irritated at being interrupted. “I’ve made every reasonable effort to promote dialogue with the Palestinians, but their leadership is hopeless. They have no interest in reaching an accommodation with us. If they had their way, they would liquidate us like the Nazis tried to do.”

“Oh, please, Prime Minister, let’s not go there,” the President interjected, cutting the man off. “I don’t need you to use our last fifteen minutes together reciting Jewish history and all the efforts you’ve made to reach an accommodation. You and the Palestinians deserve each other. I just want to know what’s in it for the United States if we increase our already substantial aid commitment to your country. I’ve been trying to figure that out for years.”

“If you don’t know by now, Mr. President, I don’t think anything I say will make much of a difference at this late stage of the game,” the Israeli leader responded. “Perhaps the next administration will have a better appreciation of everything Israel does for the United States; and a better understanding of the very difficult situation we face in light of the hatred directed at us.”

“I doubt it,” the President said. “You and your predecessors have spent years squandering the good will the American people have for your country. Someday soon it’ll come back to haunt you.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Mr. President,” the Prime Minister shot back; “not surprised, but sorry. I told my colleagues I didn’t expect much to come of this meeting and you’ve certainly exceeded my low expectations in that regard.”

The two men continued exchanging barbs a while longer. Then, having finished their meeting on a testy note, the President led the Prime Minister to the Press Room where it had been agreed they would take a few questions from the White House press corps and selected Israeli reporters who had been invited in for the occasion.

The President stepped to the podium and kicked things off.

“The Prime Minister and I just finished a very interesting and productive meeting,” he lied.

“Haven’t we, Mr. Prime Minister?” he added, smiling and looking over at the man who had just wasted forty-five minutes of his life.

“Absolutely, Mr. President,” the Prime Minister agreed, nodding his head and returning the President’s smile.

Whatever differences they might have, both men realized it was important to maintain appearances for their respective constituencies.

****

“But mother it’s the Cardinal,” John Saviano pleaded. “You know how imperious the man can be. He’s just like Dad that way. At an important event like this, he expects to play a prominent role. Are you certain you don’t want him to say a few words?”

As strong, iron-willed and imperious as her late husband in many ways, Anthony Saviano’s wife refused to budge.

“I am. Your father never liked Cardinal Wells, John. Did you know that? He thought Wells was a waffler, someone only too willing to support whoever was Pope. Your father was quite disappointed with this latest Pope. He thought he was much too liberal and that Cardinal Wells was nothing more than an enabler for the man.”

“The bottom line is I don’t want him speaking. I don’t want anyone speaking other than you. If it was the President who was demanding to speak, God forbid, I would tell him no; so I don’t have any hesitation saying no to a mere Cardinal. I’ll call the man myself and tell him personally if you want.”

“Uh, no; that won’t be necessary, Mother,” her son replied. “I’ll call him myself.”

****

Just before 10 a.m. on the East Coast of the United States the men and women who had served as clerks for Chief Justice Anthony Saviano over the years began to gather at the Supreme Court. They were there to keep a vigil from the moment the body was brought into the Great Hall until the moment it departed.

For many of those arriving, it was as if they were there to ward off the gathering storms they were convinced would soon shake the very foundation of the building they loved. They realized there was little they could do to prevent that forever, of course.

But for this day and Friday they were determined to keep the forces of godless liberalism far away from the temple where the man they loved had for so long preserved, protected and defended the Constitution of the United States; indeed, had done so far better than any of the Presidents he had served under most of the clerks would have agreed.

There were well over ninety-five of them and Justice Saviano’s current chief clerk had carefully worked out a schedule that would assure each an opportunity to participate in the vigil and thus honor the memory of the man they collectively loved.

It was an honor.

But it was also a moment of sadness as well.

****

At the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on Constitution Avenue just down the road, Judge Vaughn Carroll was on the phone with A. J. Keenan, the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times.

Keenan had held that position for years; indeed had written a book about the Court that had once been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. He had a law degree from Columbia University, lived in Washington by himself, and was rightly considered the Dean of American legal reporting.

In a word, A.J. Keenan was someone important and he and Judge Carroll had cultivated a mutually beneficial relationship over many years.

“Not this week, Adam,” Judge Carroll said.

Unlike most judges, including the late Chief Justice, Vaughn Carroll was on a first name basis with A.J. Keenan. That alone said a lot about their relationship, but Judge Carroll understood it was too soon to be speaking to a reporter even on deep background about the vacancy Justice Saviano’s death had created.

“It wouldn’t be smart for either of us to risk being seen together,” Judge Carroll reiterated. “Perhaps we could get together next week somewhere away from Washington. I definitely think we should talk and the sooner the better. But I’m sure you understand that discretion is the better part of valor at a time like this.”

“Understood, Vaughn,” A.J. Keenan replied. “I just wanted to put my oar in the water. I wouldn’t want you speaking with any of my young and ambitious colleagues before talking to me.”

“You should know better than that, Adam,” Judge Carroll reassured the man who had been his primary contact in the media for years.

After hanging the phone up, however, Judge Carroll wondered whether he should consider another reporter for the leaks he was planning to plant in the coming weeks. Carroll liked A.J. Keenan, but anything he gave the man might be seen, correctly, as coming from him.

Knowing that was less likely with other reporters, Vaughn Carroll began searching his old fashioned Rolodex to see if he could come up with a suitable alternative.

****

In San Francisco, California, Judge Franklin Saiers was reviewing the initial draft of a revised legal document his lawyer had hastily drawn up the previous day. The document spelled out exactly what should happen if Franklin Saiers died before his son reached his eighteenth birthday.

I need to talk to Andy about this, Judge Saiers thought. He’s old enough to decide for himself and I think he’ll agree with this. But I need to discuss it with him to be certain.

Judge Saiers knew his fourteen-year old son would be unhappy his father was even thinking about death. Andy Saiers loved his father in a way boys hardly ever did at his age and wouldn’t like being forced to discuss his father’s possible demise.

There’s no avoiding it though. He deserves a say in what happens in the unlikely event of my death.

Looking out the window, Judge Saiers took a deep breath and sighed. He and his son enjoyed an excellent relationship, but there were times when the Judge wondered whether anything he had done or failed to do was responsible for what had happened.

Earlier that year Andy had used the occasion of San Francisco’s Pride celebration to tell his father he was gay. Franklin Saiers loved his son very much and was proud Andy trusted him enough to share that revelation with him. They had even attended that year’s Pride parade together.

Judge Saiers had done his best not to embarrass his son by clinging protectively to him. That had been difficult. Andy was a very good looking boy and friendly as well. The Judge had been forced to look on helplessly from a distance as one older man after another approached his son, sometimes in groups, and sought to befriend him.

But nothing inappropriate had happened. Andy had just made some new friends. In the end, some boys he knew who were part of Scouts for Equality had joined Andy and they had spent the rest of the afternoon taking in all the sights, sounds and smells – and just having fun. Nonetheless, even now months later, Judge Saiers worried about what the future held for his son.

Things were changing in America, no doubt about it. There were still many people who condemned homosexuality, but their numbers seemed to be dwindling with each passing generation. Still, there were many challenges his son would face even in a tolerant community like San Francisco; perhaps especially in San Francisco with its large LGBTQ community.

Franklin Saiers realized at some level he needed to let his son find his own way; that adolescence was a time when teenagers began separating from their parents and there was nothing he could or should do about that. But he loved his son and like most parents was protective of him. Losing a wife had been difficult and now Franklin Saiers faced the prospect of losing a son as well.

You’re looking at this the wrong way, Franklin. This is what all the time you’ve spent with your son is all about. You’ve been trying to teach him by example, trying to help your son move from boyhood to manhood.

You should be proud of yourself. Andy’s a good boy. He’s bright. He has the right values. And he loves you. What more could a father ask for?

And yet, having said all of that, Judge Saiers was hoping for more time with his son, the little boy he had loved for so many years who was now no longer quite so little but had grown into a handsome young man indeed.

****

In a conference room in the Russell Senate Office Building he often used when meeting with larger groups, Eric Ford was becoming annoyed late Thursday afternoon. He had been meeting for more than two hours with a collection of leaders who represented a diverse array of groups based in Washington.

Some were the Washington representatives of civil and human rights groups and their allies in the religious community. Others came from organizations that were against things like war or guns or for things like legalized marijuana. All of them were progressives with whose views Eric and Senator Jennings were typically in agreement.

Although none of the groups wielded much clout in Washington or had ever contributed to the Senator’s reelection campaign, the relationship had proved mutually productive over the years. The Senator and Eric gained better insight into what people with grassroots connections were thinking while helping to better focus their legislative efforts on the Hill.

Eric had agreed to meet with them that afternoon at the request of Chris Drury, the Washington representative of Students United for Peace and Justice. The meeting had begun just after 3:00 p.m. and by now it was well after 5 o’clock.

Most of the session had involved Eric refreshing the memory of those present about the process involved in filling a court vacancy and answering their many questions. But for the last forty-five minutes he had been fending off their efforts to get Senator Jennings to publicly endorse Vaughn Carroll for the job.

“Like I told you before,” Eric repeated, “Senator Jennings hasn’t been asked by the President who he would recommend. If and when he is, he’ll share his views with the White House, but not with the general public. He doesn’t want to be seen as pressuring the President.”

“Why not?” shouted a voice from the back of the room.

“Because the Senator thinks any advice he shares with the President is just that; advice. In any event, we’re not expecting the President to ask our opinion. We have confidence he’ll make the right decision.”

“Bullshit!” the representative for one of the animal rights organizations shouted. “He didn’t make the right decision the first time when he nominated Liu. Nor the second time when he chose Alverez. What makes you think the President will make the right decision this time?”

“Do you have a problem with either of those nominations?” Eric asked. “I don’t. They’ve both turned out to be excellent Justices.”

“Maybe,” his interlocutor replied, “but they’re not Vaughn Carroll and we’re not going to settle for some pale imitation this time around. That’s why your boss needs to endorse Carroll publicly.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Eric replied, annoyed some of the groups refused to take no for an answer.

“You and the Senator better be careful, Eric,” a female voice chimed in. “You’re playing with fire. Progressives all over the country want Carroll and we’ll be watching carefully to see who our friends are. We’re going to be scoring this vote for our members and holding people accountable.”

“You do that, Sally,” Eric replied. “We’ll take our chances.”

With that testy exchange the meeting broke up as Chris Drury stepped in and thanked Eric for spending so much time with the groups on short notice. Later he would call and apologize for the behavior of some of the groups.

By then Eric Ford had already returned to the office and filled his boss in on what had happened.

“You did the right thing, Eric,” the Senator reassured him. “This is an important decision. The last thing the President needs is someone like me telling him what to do.”

****

At the Supreme Court a small but steady trickle of visitors climbed the stairs of the building throughout the evening. Some were drawn by a sense of being part of history while others came to honor someone they considered a hero; of if not a hero perhaps, at least someone important.

Whatever their reason, once they entered the building they circled the Great Hall and paid their respects while the Chief Justice’s former clerks vigilantly stood guard.

Then, having said their final farewell to Anthony Saviano, they departed and scurried off into the darkness.

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 03

  1. Kit, Kit, Kit, Kit, Kit,

    Are you subliminally planting biases in our minds by stating that the Cheif Justice’s clerks scurried off into the darkness? Hmmmmm what other animals scurry off into the darkness? Certainly not unicorns or cute puppies.

    Great story although I have to start writing down who is who to try and keep track of the characters.

    Cheers,

    Tim

    1. You may be the only person reading the story, Tim, but thanks for the compliment. I intended for the reference to those scurrying off to apply to those visiting the Great Hall, not the clerks, but I can see my grammar may be lacking.

      Since there are obviously many characters, I’ve tried to help you and other readers (if any) by posting the cast of characters under the Justice heading above. I hope it helps.

  2. My reply to chapter 2 went to email hell. I will try and do better with this one. As usual your writing is well done. The story has held my interest and that says a lot as I look on politics as” the highest of ideals, the lowest of professions”. Nothing going on in the world (let alone the USA) has changed my mind of late. I will keep reading because I enjoy your work. I hope that you are enjoying the writing and all the best.

    1. Thanks, Captain. It’s hard to argue with your view of politics.

      And, yes, I still enjoy the writing … though at times (like in the upcoming chapter) I find myself stymied at certain points as I try to figure out exactly what I am trying to say; and then once I do, finding the words to express that.

      It would also be nice if I could come up with more story ideas, but the well seems to be running dry these days.

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