When President Obama was compiling his short list for nominees to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court, I didn't initially see myself as a likely candidate. But then he pledged to name a justice who combines "empathy and understanding," someone who "understands how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives." It was obvious my name had been whispered in his ear and he'd learned that I'm looking for a job.
The Supreme Court struck me as an ideal Plan B career, more stimulating than the chocolatier, organic farmer or therapist options cited in an article in the New York Times. I'd had a successful run as a television comedy writer but, for reasons unclear to me, those of us in our 60's are trusted to make life and death decisions on the highest court of the land, but not to write an episode of "The New Adventures of Old Christine."
I was attracted to the prospect of wearing a robe, ideal for the post-menopausal body, which may be why it had been my mother's garment of choice at this stage of her life. Additionally, the justices appear to be collegial, socializing despite dramatic ideological differences. I could imagine dinners in Georgetown, sharing appetizers and anecdotes with Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia, after which she would insist we come to her seder.
I didn't find a listing for this job on Craigslist or Monster.com. Calls to well-placed friends, "Can you help me get appointed to the Supreme Court?" were unproductive, yet I remained hopeful. While I haven't served as a judge, I'm extremely judgmental and have probably handed down as many decisions as Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I've been harsh with colleagues for telling tasteless jokes, with actresses for carrying overpriced Lana Marks bags to the Oscars and with my nephew for parking in handicapped spaces.
"Would you be okay to move to Washington if I got appointed to the Supreme Court?" I asked my husband.
"You on the Supreme Court?!!"
I explained that I'm a woman and have the empathy thing, but also have the advantage of requiring less damage control. "Obama wouldn't be called on to defend my comments because nobody has ever paid attention to anything I've said."
"You mean his being sure if Sotomayor had the chance, she'd have restated what she said? You have no idea how many times a week I've said the very same about you."
This is, naturally, causing me to rethink my Plan B career choice. There are jobs where being out of control and speaking impulsively is less problematic. Two that come to mind are organic gardening and Vice-President of the United States.