Chapter 07

Equal Justice Under Law

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Justice: Chapter 07

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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.

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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..

JUSTICE

Chapter 7

On Wednesday morning Senator Bill Cahill finally got around to returning a call from Wayne Taylor, the President’s chief of staff. The Senator had decided to go home early the previous day soon after he got back to his office from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

He wasn’t feeling well and the meeting at the White House had done nothing to lift his spirits. If anything, it had angered him. He didn’t appreciate Morgan McBride interrupting the President of the United States before he could even finish what he was saying.

Rudeness had become the coin of the realm in Washington ever since an obscure and otherwise undistinguished congressman from South Carolina had pointed at Barrack Obama during a joint session of Congress and twice shouted You lie! at the President.

The Minority Leader had done the same thing the previous day in the Oval Office itself and Bill Cahill had struggled to suppress the urge to stand up and punch the man in the face.

You don’t do something like that to any President, no matter what you think. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mental case like Trump or an ineffective liberal like Obama. You have to respect the office no matter what.

The President has a more difficult job than any of us. You may not agree with him, but what’s so hard about showing a little respect for the office and letting the man have his say without calling him a liar?

For Bill Cahill, it was a matter of simple courtesy and that was among the many failings of Morgan McBride. Simple courtesy didn’t matter to the man. Nothing mattered to the Minority Leader except winning.

The morning session at the White House had left Senator Cahill feeling poorly; and so after checking in with his good friend, Jack Durning, to see whether his presence would be needed that day on the Senate floor and finding it wouldn’t be, Bill Cahill had gone home to rest.

He had given his staff strict instructions he wasn’t to be bothered under any circumstances unless the President himself wanted to talk to him. Knowing how rare calls like that were, Bill Cahill was pretty certain he would get the rest he needed.

He had been right about that and was grateful as well because he was feeling much better the following morning when he arrived at his main office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

It was there he learned Wayne Taylor had called late the previous afternoon with a request to speak to him. And now here he was in his office, waiting for the White Office Operator to connect him to the chief of staff.

“Senator Cahill, thanks for returning my call,” Taylor said when he came on the line. “It was so nice to see you yesterday even if the meeting itself turned out not to be very productive.”

“Did you expect it to be, Wayne?” the Senator asked. “Is any meeting with Morgan McBride ever productive of anything except rudeness and bile?”

“Uh, no, I guess not, Senator. But the reason I’m calling is I met with the President yesterday afternoon and he’s decided he’d like to consider you for the vacancy on the Court. That’s why I’m calling; to give you a heads up so you won’t be caught by surprise when the FBI calls.”

“Oh for crying out loud, Wayne,” the Senator responded, annoyed. “You’re the man’s chief of staff for Christ’s sake. You get paid the big bucks to make sure the President doesn’t go off half-cocked with crazy ideas like that. There’s no way in hell I should be considered for that job. Both of us know that.”

“And you can tell the man I wasn’t pleased he wasted taxpayer money having you call me about such foolishness. I don’t agree. I won’t cooperate if he presses forward with the idea; and I certainly will not accept the nomination if the man is crazy enough to offer it. Do I make myself clear, Wayne?”

“Uh, well, yes; yes you do, sir,” Taylor replied, surprised at just how vehement Senator Cahill’s response had been.

Most Senators would have been flattered and taken the bait.

“And it’s not like the President didn’t warn me you might react the way you did,” Taylor quickly added. “But he also said it would cost me my job if I didn’t bring him back the name of one of your Senate colleagues you think would make a good Chief Justice if you declined the offer yourself.”

“He’s wants to go beyond the usual list of suspects this time around; to look at some people who are right on the issues, but who would bring something different to the Court than a judicial record.”

“He’s looking for someone who’s a bridge builder and might get more support from the Republicans. He figured you’d be the best person to recommend someone like that if you didn’t want to be considered yourself. The President respects your opinion highly, Senator Cahill.”

“Apparently not highly enough to call me directly about this foolishness, Wayne,” Senator Cahill replied. “If it was important to him, he would have called himself. Hell, Wayne, both of us know he’s going to nominate Vaughn Carroll. He’s just trying to ease his conscience by fooling himself into thinking he did seriously consider other candidates. But he couldn’t find the time to call me directly and ask?”

“Uh, well, that’s because he knew you’d read the riot act to him like you’re doing to me, Senator,” Taylor replied. “That’s why he has a chief of staff; to take the heat for him. And, uh, there’s one other thing, Senator Cahill.”

“What?” the Senator barked.

“You should know I have a son and daughter in college right now, and another son who’ll be enrolling next year. I really need this job, sir, and the President said he would have my head if I didn’t bring a name back from you.”

“Oh, come on, Wayne,” the Senator scoffed. “Both of us know he didn’t say any such thing. He’d never fire you. You do too good a job for him; and on the offhand he did make such a threat, which I doubt, he would never carry it out.”

Wayne Taylor was impressed.

He knew Bill Cahill had been around Washington for a long time and was a keen observer of all things political. But he didn’t know the man was this good; that he could see right through the story Wayne had carefully concocted and not be fooled.

“It’s the truth,” Taylor lied again. “Please help me out. There must be someone in the Senate you could recommend.”

“I’ll think about it and get back to you, Wayne,” the Senator replied. “Thanks for calling.”

****

At his office in the U.S. Capitol, Senator Morgan McBride was meeting privately with Kimberly Dunn of the Constitutional Studies Institute.

“That manifesto you drafted was brilliant, Kimberly,” he said, complimenting a young lady he considered not only intelligent but quite attractive as well. “I was impressed; very impressed.”

“Thank you, Senator McBride. Coming from a strong defender of the Constitution like you, that means a lot.”

“So what do you have planned next, Kimberly?” the Senator asked.

“I have some ideas,” she said, “but it takes so long to get anything approved at the Institute. It isn’t equipped to move quickly in situations like this. As it is, I had to browbeat my boss to approve funding for running that manifesto in both the Times and the Post. It can be frustrating at times dealing with the bureaucracy over there.”

“I understand,” the Senator replied, nodding his head in agreement. “What we need here is a single-issue PAC to collect donations which could then be used to run an extended television campaign against Vaughn Carroll.”

“That could be expensive,” Kimberly replied.

“Sure,” the Senator agreed. “But I think the Pepper brothers could be persuaded to come up with the money as long as their name is kept out of it; and it’s not like we’re talking about a national media buy either.”

“We could focus on the Washington media market and then release the ads on the internet. I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers, media types, and raving lunatics who would be only too happy to pick them up as part of their rantings.”

“We could also run them selectively in states where some of my colleagues might be wavering about opposing Carroll. But the key thing is to have someone with a killer instinct running the PAC. That’s why I wanted to talk to you, Kimberly. I think you’d be perfect for the job.”

“Thank you, Senator McBride,” Kimberly replied.

She was surprised she had made it on to the Senator’s radar so quickly.

“That’s something I’d certainly love to do if I could,” she continued. “I’m just not certain I can afford to give up my job to do something short-term like that.”

“I could talk to your boss at the Institute and arrange a leave of absence for you to take on the task,” the Minority Leader replied, trying to reassure the young woman he was staring at. “And who knows, Kimberly? If things work out as successfully as I expect, other opportunities would likely open up for an intelligent and beautiful young lady like you.”

“I could certainly use someone like you on my staff; and, you know, a stint on my staff is nothing to sneeze at. It might come in handy down the road if you decide to run for elective office in the future. You should be thinking about that, Kimberly. You’re much too talented to spend your life as a staffer. We need more strong, bright, and principled female conservatives in office like you.”

“I hadn’t thought of that, Senator,” Kimberly replied, flattered. “It would be an honor to serve on your staff someday. As for the group you mentioned, what kind of ads do you think it should be running?”

”They’ll need to be very strong, Kimberly, very powerful,” McBride replied. “I’m not an expert on these things, but there are plenty of firms out there capable of producing what’s needed. They should go after Carroll for his decisions on key issues, of course; guns, queers and abortion, among others. And they should go after his character too. If we look hard enough, perhaps we’ll find some skeletons in the man’s closet. If not, I’m sure some can be manufactured.”

“But the key thing is that all of them should convey a common theme. There’s nothing like repetition to drive a message home. You know, perhaps something like Vaughn Carroll – Wrong Man, Wrong Time, Wrong for America!

“That’s perfect, sir,” Kimberly Dunn gushed, reminded again just how astute and politically savvy the Senate’s Minority Leader was.

“Nothing should be off bounds, Kimberly,” McBride continued; “nothing at all. We need to hit the man harder than any judicial nominee has ever been hit before. We need to stop Carroll at any cost. Unless we do we won’t have any leverage with Harrison Long.”

“And we should also do it because Carroll is wrong on the Constitution,” he added; “always has been, always will be. Do you agree, Kimberly? And do you think you can do what needs to be done? It isn’t the easiest thing to do and I realize I’m asking a lot. If you don’t have the stomach for it, I’ll understand.”

“I do agree, Senator,” the young woman replied. “And you don’t have to worry. You can count on me to do my part.”

“Excellent, Kimberly,” Senator McBride said. “And don’t be a stranger either. I’ll want to talk to you in the early evening every day once we get that PAC up and running. Do you understand?”

“Of course,” the young lady replied.

With that Kimberly Dunn rose and headed back to the Institute. In her young life she had seen and admired many campaigns designed to demonize an opponent. And now, given the opportunity, she was determined not to disappoint Morgan McBride.

It was the right thing to do for America, the principled thing. Americans needed to understand just what a monster Vaughn Carroll was.

Kimberly Dunn had also noticed the Senator staring at her legs throughout their discussion. Knowing that, she realized a stint on the Minority Leader’s staff could be just the thing needed to propel her career forward.

She agreed with the Senator.

She wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life as a staffer to others. Kimberly Dunn knew she had the right stuff and was determined to use all of it to get whatever she wanted.

****

Having disposed of a number of issues requiring urgent attention, Wayne Taylor finally asked his secretary to arrange for the White House Operator to make a series of telephone calls that would stretch over what was left of the day.

The first and most important was to a number at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Court House in Washington. Within moments Judge Vaughn Carroll’s secretary answered the phone.

“Office of Chief Judge Vaughn Carroll,” she announced.

“Yes, this is the White House Operator calling. Wayne Taylor, the chief of staff to President Long, would like to speak to Judge Carroll. Is he available?”

“Let me check,” Judge Carroll’s secretary replied, placing the White House on hold and using the intercom to buzz her boss.

“What is it, Anna?” Judge Carroll asked.

“It’s the White House, Judge; a Mr. Wayne Taylor, the chief of staff to President Long. He’d like to speak to you.”

“Is he on the line or is it his secretary or the White House Operator?” Vaughn Carrol asked.

“It’s the White House Operator, Judge.”

“Then tell her I’m not available and will call back later, Anna. Give it an hour and then call back, but make sure Taylor himself is on the line before you buzz me.”

“I understand, Judge Carroll.”

And with that brief exchange Judge Vaughn Carroll’s secretary informed the White House Operator that her boss was not available at the moment and would return the call. It wasn’t just who one talked to in Washington that mattered. It was more important still to make sure everyone understood who called the shots.

Later that day the two powerful men would finally connect and Vaughn Carroll would be informed that the President would like to consider him for the vacancy created by the death of Chief Justice Saviano.

He would be asked whether he was willing to submit the extensive financial, health and other personal records the White House needed; and also whether he was prepared to undergo a detailed background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Having been asked these questions by Taylor, Judge Carroll would indicate he was prepared to be considered for the post; indeed considered it a great honor and was grateful to the President for the confidence he was showing in him.

And then, having finished his conversation with the White House, he would sit back in his chair and savor the moment. For Vaughn Carroll, it was the first step in fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

****

On the floor of the U.S. Senate Bill Cahill had just finished casting a vote on some trivial resolution of little import. Like many votes, the final tally had been almost unanimous.

For Senator Cahill that was almost always a sign that what he was voting on would be little noted or long remembered. Looking around, he spotted Jack Durning and approached him.

“Are you going back to your office, Jack?” he asked.

“I am.”

“Then let me walk with you. I have something I need to discuss in private.”

The two old friends walked back to the comfortable digs that came with the job of being Senate Majority Leader. Cahill knew the office was poor recompense for all the problems that came with the task of running the Senate.

Running the Senate was like trying to manage a herd of the cattle. If you didn’t choke to death on all the dust they stirred up, you would probably die when something spooked them and they stampeded.

“What’s on your mind, Bill?” Jack Durning asked once the two men were settled.

“I had a call from Wayne Taylor at the White House this morning, Jack. The President would like me to recommend one of our colleagues for the Supreme Court vacancy. I think Morgan spooked him yesterday when he recommended me for the job and accused him of already having decided who he’ll nominate.”

“Which he has, of course,” Jack Durning said. “Everyone in Washington knows who he’s going to nominate.”

“Agreed,” Bill Cahill said. “But he’s got his back up and is bound and determined to prove to himself that isn’t the case; that he’s open to considering someone other than Carroll for the job, someone who doesn’t fit the usual criteria. Not that he’ll do it at the end of the day, but I guess we have to help the man convince himself he isn’t as predictable as everyone thinks.”

“Do you have a candidate in mind, Bill?” Senator Durning asked, knowing full well the Senator wouldn’t be talking to him unless he did.

“I do,” Cahill replied. “I’m going to recommend Paul Jennings unless you think there’s some reason I shouldn’t.”

“Interesting,” the Majority Leader said, drumming his fingers on his desk. “He’s from Massachusetts, which is solidly Democratic, and they have a Democratic Governor as well so he’d be sure to name a reliable successor; probably that sleazebag mayor of Boston. Plus Paul’s solid on all the issues. He’s a true blue progressive, but he’s not in your face about it and has a lot of friends on both sides of the aisle.”

“I think that’s a great choice, Bill; though I’d hate to actually lose that young man from the Senate. We need more people like him around here. He’d be missed.”

“He would,” Bill Cahill responded. “But I also think he’d be a great Chief Justice. People like him. They respect him and he has a way of leading without calling attention to himself while also deflecting credit to those he works with. Not that he’ll actually be nominated, of course, so we won’t be losing him.”

“Have you told him about this?” Senator Durning asked.

“Not yet,” Cahill replied. “I wanted to run it by you first.”

“Thanks, Bill. I appreciate that. I guess my only concern is how this would affect your plan to have him manage Carroll’s nomination? As you know, I still have some concerns about whether he’s tough enough for that job.”

“I don’t think it would have much effect one way or another,” Cahill replied. “The only people who would know he was being considered up here are the three of us. The White House doesn’t usually officially release the names of everyone they considered for the job.”

“But sometimes they leak names,” Jack Durning countered, “and I suspect they’d leak Paul’s. How would it affect things if they did that?”

“It would probably play pretty good if people knew the White House considered him and then he went to bat enthusiastically for Carroll once the Judge was nominated,” Cahill said. “And who knows? Part of Paul’s popularity might rub off on Carroll.”

“I doubt it,” Durning replied. “On the other hand, I don’t see any downside.”

“Good,” Cahill said. “Do me a favor then. After the next vote send him over to my hideaway office. Tell him I want to see him.”

“Will do,” Jack Durning replied. “And be sure to remind Paul he’s going to need to be tough to hold his own with Morgan McBride. Not many people can.”

****

That afternoon on the Senate floor there was a long and complicated series of procedural votes on a transportation funding bill. The votes, which had been instigated by the Minority Leader, were designed to determine which side would ultimately prevail on several amendments that had absolutely nothing to do with the underlying bill.

The amendments in question dealt with what one side called religious freedom and the other bigotry. They were designed to put members of the Senate on the record on complicated issues that could be easily simplified and turned into thirty or sixty second attack ads against members who might be vulnerable in the election the following year.

As well, they were also a test of the respective legislative skills of Senator Jack Durning, the Majority Leader, and his counterpart, Minority Leader Morgan McBride. As the two fought for the upper hand in the struggle, members of the Senate were summoned from their offices repeatedly to cast votes.

Brought to the floor, Senator Paul Jennings took his cue from how other members of the Senate were voting. He didn’t know exactly what he was voting on and neither did most of the other members of the Senate.

But it was easy enough to figure out how the two parties were voting and that’s all any of the members needed to know as they cast their votes on things that had nothing to do with improving the nation’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure.

In the end, on the decisive vote, the Majority Leader prevailed. The amendments McBride wanted considered would not be voted on; although the Minority Leader had the consolation of knowing he could still delay the underlying bill if he wanted.

As he prepared to leave the floor and return to his office, Paul Jennings was intercepted by the Majority Leader who informed him that Bill Cahill was waiting to talk to him in his nearby hideaway office. Making his way there, Paul Jennings knocked on the door and entered when summoned.

“There you are, Paul,” Senator Cahill said, greeting him. “Jack must have told you I wanted to see you.”

“He did,” Senator Jennings responded.

“I wanted to talk to you about our meeting with the President yesterday, Paul. Not very much came from it, of course. Nothing ever does when Morgan McBride is present. Did you know Morgan thinks I’d make an excellent replacement for Justice Saviano?” Senator Cahill asked, facetiously.

“And so you would,” Senator Jennings responded, smiling at the Chairman.

“Perhaps I would have twenty or thirty years ago,” Bill Cahill replied, nodding his head. “But not at my age. It was just a ploy by Morgan to put the President in a difficult position.”

“From what I’ve read in the papers, the President didn’t nominate you on the spot,” Paul Jennings said. “That tells me you must have declined the honor.”

“I did,” Senator Cahill replied. “But apparently that got the President to thinking and now he’s asked me to suggest someone from the Senate he can consider for the job.”

“Wow,” Paul Jennings said, surprised.

“Yes, indeed; he did. Who do you think I should suggest?” Senator Cahill asked. “After all, you’re going to be managing this nomination on the floor. Who do you think might be able to win some Republican votes? It would have to be someone who’s right on the issues and whose appointment wouldn’t reduce our Senate majority.”

Caught by surprise, Paul Jennings wracked his brain, trying to come up with the name of someone he could recommend to Bill Cahill.

He couldn’t.

“Honestly, I can’t think of anyone, Bill,” he finally said.

“That’s because you’re too modest, Paul,” Cahill replied. “I’ve decided to recommend you.”

Caught by surprise, Senator Jennings blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

“That’s crazy, Bill. I’m too young for one thing. I’ve never been a member of one of the Appeals Courts; never served on the bench at any level. I don’t know the first thing about being a judge, let alone how I would build consensus among other men and women who’ve been judges for years.”

“As for not serving on an Appeals Court, Paul, I’m reminded of what Mr. Dooley once said,” Senator Cahill replied. “He said an appeal is when you ask one court to show its contempt for another court.”

Paul Jennings laughed.

“As for the rest of it, you’re the same age as Saviano when he was nominated years ago,” Cahill added. “You’re a lawyer and served as the Attorney General of Massachusetts for several years before being elected to the Senate. You come from a reliably Democratic state headed by a Democratic Governor who would appoint your successor if you’re nominated and confirmed. You’re right on the issues and everyone in the Senate likes you.”

“Most important of all, you’re a bridge builder, Paul, not a bomb thrower. You’d do fine.”

“But I, uh . . . I . . . I don’t want to be a judge,” Senator Jennings stammered.

“And you won’t be, Paul,” Bill Cahill replied, trying to reassure his colleague. “I think the chances the President would actually select you are pretty slim. Whether he’ll admit it or not, he’s going to pick Vaughn Carroll. But he wants to be able to tell himself he looked far and wide for the right nominee, including from among members of the Senate.”

“Being considered for the job would only enhance your reputation around town, Paul.”

Paul Jennings understood immediately what the Senator was telling him and felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

“Of course, the thing about being considered for the job, Paul, is that you’d have to be willing to undergo some pretty intensive scrutiny. They would want to see all of your financial and health records going back to kingdom come; hopefully there wouldn’t be any old tax issues in those files, any questionable investments. The Republicans would play havoc with those if there were.”

“And then there’s the rest of it, Paul; the personal stuff. You know, there was a Governor of Louisiana a long time ago. He was quite a rascal; quite liberal and progressive I might add. A little corrupt as well although not excessively so by Louisiana standards.”

Edwin Edwards was his name. He was running for Governor one time and he told the reporters that ‘the only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.’ You might not want to let your name be considered if either applies; or something similar.”

“Uh, no,” Paul Jennings replied, smiling. “Some of my friends in Massachusetts call me the Boy Scout because I’ve led such a boring life.”

“Well, then, I don’t know whether to congratulate or commiserate with you, Paul, but it sounds like I can recommend you to the White House without much concern.”

“Could I think about it, Bill?” Senator Jennings asked.

“No, you may not,” his colleague replied. “If you think about it, you’ll be sensible enough to say no and we can’t have that. Believe me, Paul; I’ve thought about this. Being considered for the job has a bunch of upsides for you and no downsides. You should do it.”

“Would it have any effect on my role in the confirmation process?” Senator Jennings asked. “I was kind of looking forward to being in the thick of the battle for a change.”

“It won’t,” Senator Cahill reassured his colleague; “unless the President goes delusional on us and nominates you, of course. All bets are off then. But, like I said, I don’t think that’ll happen.”

“Uh, well, if you think I should, I guess you can recommend me.”

“Already have,” Bill Cahill replied, smiling. “Wayne Taylor, the President’s chief of staff, will be in touch with you later this evening with the details.”

“There’s one other thing I want to talk to you about as well, Paul,” the Senator added. “It’s about a part of our job that can be distasteful.”

And with that Senator Cahill launched into a long discussion about how getting things done in Washington often required breaking a few eggs. He wanted to be sure Paul Jennings understood just how ruthless he might have to be.

****

On the west coast Judge Franklin Saiers pressed the intercom that connected his secretary to him.

“Yes, Maria,” he said.

“It’s the White House calling, sir. They’d like to talk to you. They’re on line one.”

“Okay; thank you very much, Maria.”

Picking up the phone, the Judge punched line one.

“This is Franklin Saiers.”

“Judge Saiers, the chief of staff to President Long, Wayne Taylor, is calling,” the White House Operator said. “Let me get him on the line for you.”

The line went silent briefly and then quickly came alive once again.

“Judge Saiers, this is Wayne Taylor at the White House. As you probably know, the President has been looking at possible candidates to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. He would like to consider you for the position.”

“As you know, there’s quite an extensive process involved in a nomination like this and no guarantee you would ultimately be chosen by the President. Having been through the process before and knowing how exhausting it can be, we need to know whether you’re open to being considered for the job.”

“Thank you, Wayne,” Judge Saiers replied. “I’m honored, but I need twenty-four hours before I can answer that question. I’m not sure you know, but I’m a single Dad and have a fourteen year old son. I need to talk to him about this before answering your question.”

“I understand,” Taylor said. “Keep in mind, however, that the President hasn’t decided who to select. We’re just asking whether you’re willing to be considered.”

“Understood,” Judge Saiers replied. “But I wouldn’t want to be considered unless I was willing to take the job if offered and that would involve a lot of changes for me and my son. I want him to have a say in this.”

“Sure,” the chief of staff agreed. “I’ll need to hear from you by tomorrow though. This is an important vacancy and the President is anxious to get it filled.”

“I understand,” the Judge replied. “I’ll call first thing in the morning and let you know.”

****

Later that evening Franklin Saiers sat down with his son after dinner to discuss the call he had received from the White House.

“Why are you asking me?” Andy Saiers said when his father inquired whether he should allow his name to be considered. “You’re asking about one of the most important jobs in the government and you’ve always told me serving the public is a duty for any citizen.”

“Why is it even a question?” he added. “You‘d make a great Chief Justice, Dad. Of course you should allow yourself to be considered.”

“Keep in mind I probably won’t be selected, Andy,” the boy’s father responded. “And even if I was, the confirmation process these days is an ordeal. You would probably hear a lot of bad things about your Dad if I was selected.”

“No way,” Andy replied. “If anyone says something bad, it won’t be true so that doesn’t worry me.”

“And the other thing is we would have to move to Washington if I was confirmed,” Andy’s father added. “That would mean pulling you out of school and taking you away from your friends. Like I said, most likely I won’t be nominated. But I might be and we couldn’t change our minds if I was. It would be wrong to let the President down.”

“I understand,” Andy replied. “And of course he’ll select you. Why wouldn’t he? You’re the best judge in the whole country, Dad. I’ve heard your colleagues on the Court say that a million times. Who better to be the Chief Justice than you?”

“There are a lot of very capable people who could fill the job, Andy; and while I appreciate the vote of confidence, I want you to think about this overnight. We should talk about it again in the morning because I have to get back to the White House tomorrow.”

“I’ll think about it,” Andy said, “but I’m not going to change my mind.”

For Andy Saiers the thought of moving across the country was intriguing; and it would also get him away from Ian, who was becoming more insistent about having sex with each passing day.

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 07

  1. Great stuff Kit. I appreciate how you manage to work into the story the distasteful bits of Washington like the amendment process that forces votes on divisive issues. It’s woven so well into the story that it enhances rather than detracts from the story.

    As usual with your stories I gave no idea how this will all worry out. Can’t even begin to guess. And that is the brilliance of your writing.

    1. Thanks, Tim. I’ve come to believe that it’s the little touches that lend authenticity to a story. They may not add up to a lot, but I look for opportunities to work them in.

      I guess the point is that getting from A to B by the shortest and most direct route doesn’t always make for a great story.

      How the story works out? I have a general idea, but whether I’ll get there successfully remains to be seen.

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