THE TRIAL OF THE SUPREME COURT FIVE, by Judy Klass : LUSENET : Gore 2004 : One Thread


A LAWYER faces the Supreme Court Five - or puppets representing them. The Lawyer turns to address the crowd.

LAWYER Today we will try the case of The People Vs. The Supreme Court Five. Stand by, folks, to render a verdict, after you have heard all the evidence. (turning back to the Five) We, the People of the United States, accuse the five of you of subverting our democratic process, of betraying the public trust by letting personal and political considerations sway your judgment, of stealing our precious right to vote, and of permanently damaging the Constitution you are sworn to interpret and defend. (to crowd) I will now examine the witnesses individually, if it please the court.(turns to the first judge) Justice Antonin Scalia.


LAWYER Although you avoided signing it, you wrote the majority opinion in the 2000 election case.


LAWYER And you said that the votes should not be counted because it might make Bush appear to be less legitimate if it turned out that Gore had more votes?

SCALIA Makes sense to me!

LAWYER Perhaps to you, sir, it does. But that kind of chop-logic belongs in novels like Catch-22 or Kafka's novel The Trial! It has no business emanating from the Supreme Court of the United States. (turning to the next one) Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas nods, but does not respond.

LAWYER You say nothing -- and that is quite in character for you, sir. You write no opinions, you ask no questions of lawyers arguing their cases -- you appear before the nation as a toady and a cypher. Have you anything to say for yourself, sir? Anything at all?

THOMAS Whatever Justice Scalia thinks, that's what I think, too.

LAWYER I see, sir. I have no further questions for you. (to crowd) And these are the two men that "President" Bush says will be his model for all future court appointments. (a beat) Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Where were you on the night of November 7th, 2000?

O'CONNOR I -- I don‚t remember.

LAWYER Isn't it true that on the night of our last election you and your husband were at a party? And when Florida was called for Gore, you exclaimed: "This is terrible!"

O'CONNOR Well, that's neither here nor there.

LAWYER And when asked why you were so upset, your husband explained that you want to retire to a warmer climate soon, but felt you couldn't if the new president was a Democrat?

O'CONNOR Oh, that's just hearsay.

LAWYER Ma‚am, you were the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court bench. But now, what you'll go down in history for is betraying your own morals and principles on this issue, voting against your conscience on this most important case! (turns to the next one) Justice Anthony Kennedy. You were also appointed by Ronald Reagan.

KENNEDY Sure was!

LAWYER But partisan concerns should not have swayed your judgment. A respect for the traditions of our Republic should have. (turns to the last one) Chief Justice Rehnquist.


LAWYER You are the most seasoned and illustrious figure on the bench. But is it not true that when you yourself were a young Republican in your home state of Arizona, you participated in something called Operation Eagle Eye which was designed to keep minority voters from exercising their franchise? You'd harass them, and drive them from the polling centers?

REHNQUIST Well, I think the Statute of Limitations has run out on that stuff.

LAWYER It was before the Voting Rights Act, yes. But answer the question, please. Did you or did you not employ Jim Crow tactics then, tactics you have in essence endorsed again by helping the Bushes steal the election in Florida?

REHNQUIST I -- I plead the Fifth.

LAWYER The Fifth of what?

REHNQUIST The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

LAWYER What Constitution? Do you mean the Constitution of the United States of America that you have besmirched, sabotaged and undermined, for generations to come? Shame on you, sir! Shame on you all! (to crowd) And now, you must decide. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, are the Supreme Court Five innocent of the theft of all our votes, of the election, of our democracy? Or are they guilty?

ALL Guilty!

LAWYER The people have spoken.(to the Five) You are all disbarred, and hereby stripped of your judgeships. You are each sentenced to two hundred hours of community service, cleaning out old broken voting machines that are clogged full of chads, and sentenced thereafter to twenty years in jail, each. As traitors, some might say you should be hanged or fried. But then again: This isn't Texas.


Judy Klass ain't no lawyer in real life, but she has a doctorate in political science, and she teaches English at Nassau Community College. Fourteen of her one-act plays have been produced since 1996 (this sketch doesn't count as one of 'em!) and her fiction has appeared in Space & Time, Satire, Auslander, Phoebe, Tales of the Unanticipated and Wind Magazine, among other publications. Judy has been involved with Democracy March since the re-count fight began, and was playing her protest songs on-stage at DuPont Circle in Washington as Dubya was being sworn in at noon on January 20th -- which really helped her get through that horrible transition.

-- Judy Klass (, March 13, 2001

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