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Supreme Courtship Hardcover – September 3, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In bestselling author Christopher Buckley's hilarious novel, the President of the United States, ticked off at the Senate for rejecting his nominees, decides to get even by nominating America's most popular TV judge to the Supreme Court.

President Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees onto the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill a Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won't have the nerve to reject her--Judge Pepper Cartwright, star of the nation's most popular reality show. Will Pepper, a vivacious Texan, survive a Senate confirmation battle? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? Soon, Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. Supreme Courtship is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule.

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An Essay from Christopher Buckley

Somewhere in this brilliant, hilarious, impossible-to-put-down--to say nothing of moderately priced--new book of mine, the narrator notes that appointing a Supreme Court justice is pretty much the most consequential thing a president can do, short of declaring nuclear war; more to the point, that this fact is generally pointed out every four years by whoever is running second in the presidential election.

The Supreme Court is by any definition the most important branch of government. Who else has the power to say--without fear of being contradicted by someone higher up the food chain--"Congratulations, you just won the presidential election, even though the other guy got more votes!" Or, "We really feel awful about this, but you have to be lethally injected tonight at midnight."? If you're on the Supreme Court, you are the top of the food chain.

I've written satires about other Washington institutions. It never occurred to me to try one about the Supreme Court, for the reason that I never found it particularly funny. It was my editor, Jonathan Karp, who suggested it, and if the book turns out to be a stinkeroo and bombs, I am going to petition the Court to have him lethally injected.

At some point, while scratching my noggin and trying to come up with some way into a satire about the Marble Palace, I scribbled on a legal pad (how appropriate is that?): Judge Judy on the Court.

I called Karp and ran it past him. He laughed, which I always take as a good sign, since he doesn't laugh at 99 out of 100 of my genius ideas.

My Judge Judy is a sexy Texan named Pepper Cartwright. She was an actual judge before she became a TV hottie. How, you ask, did she get on the Court in the first place? Well, it all starts on page one where--did I mention how moderately priced the book is?

--Christopher Buckley

From Publishers Weekly

From the indefatigable Buckley comes a flabby satire about a television judge who ends up on the Supreme Court. Unpopular president Donald P. Vanderdamp nominates Pepper Cartwright after Sen. Dexter Hang 'em High Mitchell torpedoes his first two contenders. Once Pepper is confirmed and leaves her show, her producer (and soon-to-be ex-husband), Buddy Bixby, persuades Mitchell to leave the Senate and try his hand at acting as the star of the political drama POTUS. Vanderdamp, meanwhile, mounts a re-election bid to protest Congress's approval of an absurd term limits amendment. He faces off against Mitchell, who ditches his role as television president to run for real president, and before you can say Whizzer White, it is left up to newbie Pepper and the rest of the Supremes to decide the fate of the election. Unfortunately for the reader, Pepper's story gets lost between the jokes and the overstuffed plot (including a romance with the Chief Justice, the investigation of a leak inside the Supreme Court and a nuclear threat from China), and the satire is oddly detached from the zeitgeist. (Sept.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; First Edition edition (September 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446579823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446579827
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are some authors who--even when they're not at their best--are so much better than almost anyone or anything else. Christopher Buckley is just such an author.

I don't think that Supreme Courtship is his strongest work. The satire isn't quite as clever and cutting as some of what he's done in the past. I'd call it "Buckley light." That said, you'd have to be made of stone not to get a giggle from this book. It's just silly and fun.

In the novel, the US is governed by a wildly unpopular president. (I'm not even going to say anything here.) Not only is he unpopular with the people, he's even more unpopular with his own congress. (He vetoes all of their pork barrel projects.) As revenge, the senate subcommittee eviscerates every Supreme Court nominee he sends their way, no matter how honorable and qualified. It's painful to watch. At his wits end, in an attempt to nominate an untouchable, he nominates Pepper Cartwright, America's favorite television judge. Hilarity ensues!

Not only is Buckley lampooning all three branches of the federal government, he takes pot shots at reality television, the uninformed populace, and possibly the writers of The West Wing. Again, this is a very light and fluffy book. If you're looking for in-depth insight into the workings of the Supreme Court, you're barking up the wrong tree. If, however, you're looking for a pleasant and not too challenging way to pass a few hours, you could do a lot worse. Christopher Buckley makes me smile. And you'll never look at the Nimitz the same way again, LOL.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you think the 2008 presidential campaign has a tendency to collapse into absurdity on any given day, Christopher Buckley's wonderful new book, "Supreme Courtship", is the perfect companion book to the real-live antics we currently witness. Filled with sui generis characters who are only a half-step away from actuality, Buckley creates scenarios that, given a twist here or a turn there, could happen in fact.

President Donald Vanderdamp has come upon a situation not unlike one that has been faced by former U.S. presidents...difficulty in getting a Supreme Court nominee through the Senate. Through a chance viewing of a court tv-like show, Vanderdamp hits on his choice... a straight-shootin' Texan host whose husband happens to be the producer. Meet Sarah Palin, southern style. Enormously unqualified to be a Supreme Court judge, Pepper Cartwright, nevertheless, becomes an instant darling of the nation and sails through her confirmation. On the court, however, responsibilities (and her personal life) catch up with her and all... well... fun breaks out, ending with a Constitutional crisis that would make Bush v. Gore seem like Law 101.

Author Buckley has a breezy narrative style that sets things up perfectly. A chapter devoted to Pepper's first case on the court, infuses Latin beyond its limits and is the most creative and hilarious part of the book. But Buckley ratchets things up to the final election mess with such finesse that it's a shame when the book finally ends. I highly recommend "Supreme Courtship" for its humor...and its relevance to the folly of our elected and appointed servants in Washington.
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Format: Hardcover
Writing political satire can be a challenging undertaking. An author risks either going into the purely silly and impossible, or making the story more realistic at the cost of losing comedic impact. I had never read any Christopher Buckley before, except an occasional newspaper piece (e.g. his recent NYT chart of GOP convention days, including a "rousing" speech by Fred Thompson), but he has managed to nicely balance these two considerations. His extensive knowledge of Washington is evident throughout, although I guess some of these would be "inside jokes" for those of us resident in D.C. He also has some solid funny points based on realistic legal concepts. I will resist suggesting that the central character, a tv judge nominated to fill a Supreme Court seat, comes across as being similar to how the media is trying to paint Governor Palin. At points, Buckley goes off the edge, but this only adds to the fun...we are too straight-laced here and a little jocularity can only be beneficial. So, enjoy this rare example of superior political satire and ask yourself is it any more bizarre than what really goes on here.
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Format: Hardcover
In his latest novel, Christopher Buckley trains his trademark "outside insider's insight" on the Supreme Court to parody the political and personal undercurrents shaping how the Court works. The result is political satire at its best - a fun house mirror image of the inner workings of Washington that succeeds because it starts with a deep insight into the real world and then deftly distorts it to highlight the humor (and sometimes ridiculousness) of it all.

In simple overview, Supreme Courtship tells the tale of an unpopular President who overcomes a self-interested Senator's opposition to his Supreme Court nominees by nominating a wildly popular television judge to serve on the Court. Underlying that simple story is a series of finely-drawn caricatures and "ripped-from-the-headlines" sub-plots that offer a foil for Buckley's intelligent and irreverent commentary on a range of political and social themes.

Parodying the American public's infatuation with electing outsiders as President, Buckley presents President Vanderdamp as the ultimate outsider - a bowling fanatic who is actively trying not to be re-elected, which of course is just the boost his flagging popularity needs. Pitted against Vanderdamp is Dexter Mitchell, a Senator who so desperately wants to become President that he resigns his Senate seat to play one on TV, giving him just the name recognition and outsider status he needs to then run against President Vanderdamp. Pepper Cartwright, the former TV Judge whom President Vanderdamp appoints to the Supreme Court, combines Texas sass, New York sexy, and a frank and pragmatic Judge Judy jurisprudence to emerge as the Court's center of gravity and voice of reason.
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