Magazine | October 15, 2018, Issue

United States Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings 2019

(Alex Wroblewski/Reuters)

Senator: Judge, we have heard your opening statement and I think the committee is well briefed on your essential theory of jurisprudence and we have of course reviewed your opinions. Now, if we can turn to your activities during middle school —

Nominee: Senator, before we go any further I’d like to submit this photograph —

[Commotion in the hearing room.]

[Counsel for nominee produces a large graphic display.]

Nominee: Senator, as you can see, this is a photograph of me, at the age of 13. You can see the newspaper with that day’s date in the background. And I am holding a multisided die, senator — can you see that? Counsel, will you point to that? — which was used during my many many many many many evenings of playing Dungeons and Dragons —

Senator: I see, judge. So, according to you, you were dateless and terrified of women until, exactly what age, judge?

Nominee: Until well after college, senator.

[Commotion and murmuring in hearing room.]

Senator: I find that hard to believe, judge.

Nominee: Senator, I am 56 years old. I can name the entire casts of every half-hour and one-hour television series from 1972 up until 1994. Counsel, can you please show the second display?

[Counsel for judge produces a large graphic display.]

Nominee: Senator, if you’ll look at the timeline, you’ll see those years graphed here, along with what the preponderance of research posits as peak “mating” and “courting years” for the average American male, and you’ll notice —

Senator: Judge, I withdraw the question.

Nominee: Respectfully, senator, I’d like to finish. If I may, for instance, at this inflection point in the graph, the average adolescent male has experienced his first kiss. See that? Can everyone see that on the graph?

Senator: Please, judge, please stop.

Nominee: As you can see, on the coincident line, it was also during the run of NBC’s hit comedy Punky Brewster, starring Soleil Moon Frye and former MGM contract player George Gaynes. Now, senator, how could I know that? How could I know if I even ever kissed a girl? Or went to parties? Punky Brewster was a Friday-night show! Friday! When the parties would happen and bottles were spun and boys and girls engaged in kissing games and so forth.

Senator: Judge, you’re making us all very sad and uncomfortable. Mr. Chairman, can we move to a vote?

Nominee: “But maybe you were just a fan!” you might say. Maybe you would watch Punky Brewster and then go out to engage in inappropriate touch. Well, sir, let me answer you by reciting the entire Season One cast of Here’s Boomer, which followed Punky Brewster on NBC. In the lead role, straight from a Broadway revival of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, was —

Senator: Mr. Chairman! I yield my time!

Nominee: And further along on the graph we see me here, at age 19, and as you can see from the corresponding line it’s generally considered to be the sexual peak of the male human, and I am in college, when sexual activity is uninhibited and readily available.

Chairman: Judge, you’re dismissed. The committee will now vote —

Nominee [voice rising]: Senator! Ask me to talk about Finnegans Wake! Ask me to recite Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics! Ask me to talk about role-playing games!

Chairman: You’re out of order, judge!

Nominee: No! No, senator! You’re out of order! This whole process is out of order! You asked me a question — did I or did I not inappropriately touch anyone, and you will listen to this answer! America will listen! No, senator! No I did not! Never! I touched no one, nothing, not even close, from the moment I turned eleven and got braces until well after my college years. Was I lonely? Yes!

[Sobs in the hearing room.]

Nominee [voice thick with emotion]: I would hear them, senator, in college. I would hear them through the walls and in the quad and as I was hurrying home with my sandwich to read the Odes and Epodes of Horace — the Lattimore translation, senator, the other ones are mostly trash — I’d hear them laughing and flirting and kissing and, I’ll say it, probably initiating inappropriate touch. But not me, senator. Not me. I hurried home. To my books and my Cup O’ Noodles and the play I was writing called “Ari and the Sock in Central Park” about Aristotle and Socrates who are homeless guys in Central Park and I stayed there, alone, for many years.

[Long pause. Many senators wipe away tears.]

Senator: I am sorry you were so very, very lonely, judge. I am sorry you never kissed anyone.

Nominee: I’m not, senator. Because I knew that one day it would make me a well-qualified nominee to the highest court in the land.

Chairman: Thank you, judge. Senators, I believe the judge deserves to be approved, by acclamation!

[Applause from the gallery.]

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Letters

Letters

A reader sympathizes with Rael Jean Isaac’s frustration in reporting on Frank Fuster’s plight (“The Last Victim,” September 10).

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
Sports

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More
World

Israel’s New Way of War

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police ... Read More