Simply by sailing in a new direction
You could enlarge the world
prefaced to Aulis Sallinen’s 6th Symphony, 4th movement
The Suzuki Court is fully formed sometime after the retirement of Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (in 2006). All opinions prior to her withdrawal exist as prior jurisprudence in the Suzuki Court; so too all opinions at other Federal or State levels. Jurisprudence after her retirement does not exist in the Suzuki universe; nor do real deaths thereafter (such as Rehnquist) or real appointments (such as Roberts or Alito). Many real events are retained, such as the assassination of Bhutto (2007), or the tsunami of 2004; such events may be referenced in the Justices’ personal journals. Generally, major political events such as those in Iraq are retained, although real actors may be suppressed.
In the Suzuki universe Republicans continue to dominate national politics. The Suzuki Court becomes fully formed upon the confirmation of Benjamin Suzuki as Chief Justice (note the time line of replacement differs in the universe, the Chief Justice being replaced last). The full Suzuki Court retains 4 Justices of the real world: Breyer, Scalia, Souter, Thomas; the other “real five” (at the time of O’Connor’s withdrawal, that is) have either stepped down or died. Republicans have controlled both the Presidency and Congress during the appointment of the fictional five, these being Anthony Pau Cabrales (the first Hispanic appointment), Henry Mitland, Anne Clare Young, Rachael Colleen Whitehead (appointed by the second President Bush in his last days), and, of course, Chief Justice Benjamin Suzuki. These five are all chosen, more or less, for their adherence to originalism–a serious mistake on the part of the various (usually unnamed) Presidents and Congresses.
The presumption underlying the Suzuki Court is that the conservative critique spurred by Roe v Wade is correct: that decision is ungrounded in Constitutional text. This stance is neither moral condemnation of abortion nor affirmation of (one of the various) life alternatives. While those demanding the absolutism of Roe will be unhappy herein, so too will those protecting the unborn unilaterally. Originalism will not go where either its real world adherents or opponents expect.
The Court is constructed to create tension while yet finding something of a (shifting) common ground. So Associate Justice Whitehead was a pro-life attorney who took national notice by winning civil cases which inflated insurance costs on abortion providers, significantly limiting economic access to abortions; in a purely ideological move, the second President Bush (in the fictional world) appoints her to the Court in his last year, although she had no prior judicial experience. (This is not unheard of in history: Associate Justice Bradley, appointed by President Grant, had never served in any prior judicial capacity either). Her presence produces a crisis not in the Court, but in herself.
The “real” Justices, Breyer, Scalia, Souter, Thomas, become fictional here, although their fictional forms indeed wrote whatever the real one wrote upto O’Connor’s withdrawal. Opinions of their fictional forms appear herein, often quoting their real words in self reference from earlier writings (those before O’Connor’s withdrawal). But, because these fictional reals must deal with five new Justices, their thought may shift given the context of various cases. Just as O’Connor would not have been what she was without Scalia, fictional Scalia would not be what he is without fictional Suzuki.
The five purely fictional Justices have private journals which are included as documents. The fictional reals, however, apart from their Court Opinions, are only seen through the eyes of the “purely” fictional. The creator of the Suzuki Document Archive cannot speak for something standing so close to the real.
The extant private journals may be surprising. Anthony Pau Cabrales, the first Hispanic on the Court, is deeply Catholic; but 9-11 forces a reevaluation of monotheism upon him, his new stance sometimes evident in his opinions. Of course, by the construction rules of the Suzuki Court, Cabrales was not on the Supreme Court on 9-11-01. Authors of the private journals often have entries before their appointments, providing some detail on their prior lives.
Oh, yes. Benjamin Suzuki is a Zen Buddhist. The reason for his nomination by fictional future Republican President Hazelton may be found in his Senate confirmation hearings, which are part of the Archive. As Suzuki often says during his Court tenure, President Hazelton made “BIG MISTAKE–well, probably big mistake.”
This site is an incrementing never to be published book, consisting of fictional documents in an alternative legal history of the near present: court cases from various jurisdictions, private journal entries from fictional Justices, commentary from fictional law clerks to the Suzuki Court, and academic commentary on the Court and its Justices (such as that of fictional literary critic Kendal Q. Binmore). Documents will be added as the Archivist can dust them off and post them, posted documents appearing in the red column to the right. Additions to existing documents and new documents are announced on the Update page.
[Art on header by George Watson: http://watsonstudio.com/]