The Supremes! My Idea for a Reality TV Show

The whole legal community it seems is agog over the two-part PBS series about the Supreme Court that will begin to air tomorrow night. And I am sure it will be fascinating viewing for court junkies and non-junkies alike. But I am disappointed because my pitch to PBS for the series was roundly rejected. My idea was to do a reality show based upon the Justices. And here were some of my storylines

1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman on the Court who in recent days has complained about the lack of female companionship, begins a secret IM dialogue with her old friend, Sandra Day O'Connor, who pressures Ginsburg into making trouble for the boys on the Court. The climax comes when Justice Ginsburg and her off-court buddy Justice Antonin Scalia have an on-air fight over which contestant should have won that week's American Idol competition.

2. Justice David H. Souter, not exactly known for being a wild and crazy guy, becomes fascinated with snow boarding and begins sneaking off on weekends to practice for next year's Winter X Games. The other Justices begin to notice his obsession when he begins a concurring opinion with the phrase "Dude comes to Court." The climax in this episode comes when the oldest Justice, John Paul Stevens, at first an unrelenting critic of the "new" Souter, comes to the weekly conference wearing an earring and a belly ring.

3. In a riff on "Meet your new Mother," Justice Clarence Thomas, who last week praised the late federal appeals court judge Richard Arnold, is forced to live in a house with the most liberal members of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, regarding by some as the most liberal appeals court in all the land. Hijinx ensue as Thomas is taken to a rally by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and hosts a party for Hollywood's elite.

4. The two newest justices, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., are made members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and are forced to try to get straight answers out of judicial nominees at confirmation hearings. Every time they fail, which is almost always, they lose points. And when they lose enough points, they are forced to listen to the collected speeches of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

5. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the so-called "swing vote" on the Court, is challenged to preside over a trial of three defendants. One is gay. One is straight. One is guilty. If the Justice convicts the right guy, he gets to keep his job. If he doesn't, he is forced to work at the Hague.

I just don't understand why PBS didn't go for my pitch.

By Andrew Cohen |  January 30, 2007; 9:38 AM ET
Previous: Over David Souter's Dead Body | Next: A Big 24 Hours in the Legal War on Terror

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Perhaps because, even as a parody, it is not funny?

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