RBG and the Battle for Control of the Snack Pantry

Like everyone else (except a group of associates I’ve kept locked in a document room for the past 18 hours with the Internet blocked), I’m mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg this morning, and not at all surprised that the talk has immediately turned to how quickly the Senate majority will try to replace her with Gorgon the Rights-Quasher, or whoever else can be dredged up from the Democrats’ nightmares.

I think however this plays out, there’s a real argument that we should move away from this very strange regime where the party in power has to root for people’s deaths in order to improve their long-term political position. To my mind, there is no reason why someone’s death should mean the end of their reign on the Court. This is how we do it at the Firm. I’m locked in place on the leadership committee until the year 2275, no matter what happens — it’s locked in stone, and I’ve left very specific instructions about how I would vote in all kinds of hypothetical situations, ranging from alien invasion to exploding suns to the obviously-low-likelihood scenario where the estate tax is reinstated with some actual teeth to it. I’ve also left very careful rules about the snack pantry — the vegans will never, ever get their way, even if the animals rise up and take over, even if eating them is one day seen as the genocide it probably is, even if you cannot find beef jerky anywhere else on Earth, it will be in our 31st floor kitchen, at least until 2275 (which I think is the expiration date on the current supply, anyway).

It’s not like we can’t make pretty good guesses about how people will rule even after they die; years of jurisprudence establish people’s views, and surely in the case of the Supreme Court, the clerks are in a good position to figure out how their Justice would come down on a particular issue. Imagine the marketing possibilities from a “Greatest Hits” Court with John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Thurgood Marshall, RBG, and more. Imagine the fights between, say, ghost of William Brennan and ghost of Roger Taney. I imagine artificial intelligence could actually spit out some pretty reasonable opinions if armed with a judge’s complete history.

I suppose while we’re bringing back Justices, we could also re-elect Abe Lincoln as President, maybe bring back some popular old administration officials like Frances Perkins, Alexander Hamilton, I don’t know. But maybe that’s how we make America great again!

It’s why my firm will never give up the dead partners in its name, and why I will end up with my name in there too, either before I die, or a couple hundred years later when people look back at my work and realize that my brilliance was underappreciated, my legal mind not nearly well-celebrated enough, and this blog, of course, worth holding up against Ulysses, Hamlet, and the Bible as great works of modern literature.

Meanwhile, RBG is left with an incredible legacy, our democracy is quite possibly in shambles, and things might only get worse. What a way to start the Jewish New Year.

My pick, incidentally? Justice Benjamin Franklin, as long as he’s cool with Citizens United and won’t stop my firm from buying the laws we like best.

Shana tova.