As President Bush prepares to announce his first Supreme Court nominee, we’ll no doubt be hearing about all sorts of “judicial tests.” There is, of course, the litmus test for abortion. There is also the left-wing bite mark test, as undoubtedly People For the American Way, the Alliance For Justice, and Ted Kennedy’s staff are readying the chum buckets for the media sharks.
There is a lesser-known test called the Georgetown Cocktail Party Test. It’s “lesser known” because I just made it up. However, if you don’t believe that the U.S. Constitution mandates taxpayer subsidies of performance artists smearing chocolate all over their bodies, you should demand that the Bushies administer the Georgetown Cocktail Party Test to all potential nominees.
As far as I can tell, having now lived in D.C. for almost a year, the biggest problem facing Supreme Court Justices is posed by the after-hours get-togethers in the tony area of the Beltway. The acceptable opinion at most Georgetown cocktail parties is decidedly liberal, and a Justice will be invited to many of them during his or her tenure. The pressure will eventually wear down a wishy-washy Justice like Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, or David Souter. Anyone whose principles are not rock solid can only hear, “Oh, Sandy, did you really have to rule that school vouchers were constitutional?” so many times before she feels the need to win plaudits next time by upholding campaign-finance reform.
Thus, to satisfy conservatives the Bush Administration must require all potential nominees to take a multiple choice exam testing how they would react to likely conversational settings at Georgetown cocktail parties. Below are some suggested exam questions:
1. A gentleman next to you says, “The New York Times op-ed page is the finest in the land.” How would you respond?blockquote>A. Raise your glass and say, “Ah, the New York Times.” br> B. “Yes, I agree. And that Paul Krugman deserves a Nobel Prize!” br> C. “Some mothers need to confiscate their kids’ crayons before they leave the house in the morning.” /blockquote>
2. A woman with so much hairspray that you are afraid to light a match exclaims, “Those awful Republicans are cutting all those social programs! The poor will suffer so much!” Do you:blockquote>A. Nod politely. br> B. Respond, “Yes, and not only that, we need to do something about the root causes of poverty.” br> C. Say, “Maybe it would help if unwed mothers had only two kids instead of three before they reached their seventeenth birthday.” /blockquote>
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