Vacancy: A Judicial Misadventure
In this Washington tale set in the near future, a president defies custom and nominates a non-lawyer, a retired journalist and old personal friend, as Chief Justice. The appointment seems legitimate, since the Constitution doesn't require legal training for judges. Congress, however, led by its many lawyers, strikes back with a quickie law seeking to make the nominee ineligible. The new Chief Justice takes his seat by recess appointment, and soon faces the challenge of ruling on the constitutionality of a statute that would bar him from office. Meanwhile, a sexual escapade from the Chief Justice's student days breaks into the news. The rumored scandal is exploded and he stays on the bench to cast the deciding vote on the lawyers only statute with a result that surprises all observers, including his friend and sponsor, the president. VACANCY offers a telling glimpse of the 21st century capital, from the hand of a veteran editor and columnist.