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Judge Judy for the Supreme Court? - An Audio Book Review

11/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

TITLE: "Supreme Courtship"
AUTHOR: Christopher Buckley ("Boomsday," "Florence of Arabia," "Thank You For Not
Smoking")
GENRE: Political Comedy
LENGTH: 8.5 hours, unabridged
PUBLISHER: Hachette Audio
NARRATOR: Anne Heche, ("Body Double," "The Man of My Dreams," "The Man Who
Loved Tom Gordon")

LOG LINE
A beautiful, spunky TV judge is named to the Supreme Court by an unpopular President and ends up having to decide the fate of the nation.

COMMENT
Christopher Buckley is one of the few contemporary novelists who do all-out comedy and do it well. He's up there with the best of Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, Mark Helprin, and T. Coraghessan Boyle. Buckley has the Washington political space all to himself. He skewered K-Street lobby land in "Thank You For Not Smoking," diplomacy in "Florence of Arabia," social security politics in "Boomsday." A libertarian at heart, Buckley finds excess-as-humor everywhere in the body politic.

The ubber-excesses here are delivered by the fractious and pompous denizens of the Supreme Court. Buckley's characters are political archetypes, prone to go one toke over the sensibility line into absurdity. Among many, you'll meet a bloviating Chairman of the Judiciary Committee with high Potomac fever, a slick TV reality show producer with a hit show featuring suicide jumpers, and an Italian-born Justice with an acerbic tongue and a disdain for everything.

It's the sexy TV judge who drives this tale about an honorable President, with sub-Bush approval ratings, who nominates a sexy Reality-TV judge to the Supreme Court as retaliation for two previous Senate rejections. With little actual judiciary experience, Judge Pepper Cartwright's good looks, appealing charm and just-like-us common sense disarms everyone, including the pompous Judiciary Chairman, the Court's Chief Justice and the entire nation. Familiar? To Buckley's delight, this book was written Pre-Palin.

The first part of this audio book deals with the TV celebrity's nomination fight and nicely sets up the framework for a constitutional crisis in the second part.

A typical Buckley political pickle is Pepper's first case before the court about a criminal who sued a gun manufacturer because his gun wouldn't go off during his attempted bank robbery.

Narrator Anne Heche has the right edge to her voice to underscore Buckley's wry humor. She also delivers warmth and sensitivity whenever needed. This is narration that nicely amplifies the book's impact.

To Buckley's continuing credit, he has crafted a loony fiction in "Supreme Courtship" that feels perilously real.

BOTTOM LINE
If you're comic sensibilities coincide with Jon Stewart or Stephan Colbert, this incisive Buckley lampoon is right up your alley.