Television Studio Set

True Believer

Sunday Morning

Ben Trou was feeling pretty damn proud of himself. Sitting across from him under the bright studio lights was one of the most popular Sunday morning talk show hosts in the country. She looked even better in real life than she did on television. He’d seen her dozens of times interviewing important conservative luminary’s week after week, and now she was interviewing him.

“My guest this morning needs no introduction in legal circles, but for other members of my audience, Ben Trou is one of the greatest young legal minds in this country. Ben would you like to comment on the rumors that you are on the short list for a federal district court judgeship?”

Ben smiled for the camera, “It has always been my dream to become a federal judge. I can’t know the mind of the president, but this has been a great time for the appointment of conservatives like myself.”

The Society

“I understand you were an early member of the Federalist Society,” said the interviewer.

“The Society started in 1982, a little before my law schooldays,” laughed Ben, “but I did join in 1998 when I began to study law at George Mason University.”

“That would be the Anton Scalia Law School?” asked the host.

Ben was impressed that the host knew the name of GMU’s law school and had done her homework for this interview. “Right, and it was the great Supreme Court Justice Scalia who attracted me to the Society.”

“How so?” asked the host.

“Justice Scalia was very generous in donating time to young legal scholars. He gave a speech to the GMU Federalist Society chapter shortly after I began law school.” Ben put on the dreamy face he’d seen other interviewees use when remembering their past. “I was a great fan of Justice Scalia and attended the talk. I was forever inspired by his passionate and humorous description of how tyranny could arise from the gradual concentration of enforcement, lawmaking, and judicial powers in one branch of government.”

“Justice Scalia was passionate about the law,” observed the host. “And even the liberal Justice Ginsberg appreciated his sense of humor.”


“After the speech, I dug a little deeper into the background of the Society. I was attracted to the Society’s conservative libertarian principles: to preserve freedom; that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution; and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”

Nodding, the host said, “Those are certainly powerful principles.”

“I’ve based my law career on them,” said Ben, “both while I was a judicial clerk and later during my legal practices.”

“Ben, you specialize in constitutional law?” asked the host.

“I do,” responded Ben. “As I’m sure you know, I’ve been on teams that have brought two cases to the Supreme Court.”

“Yes,” responded the host, “and were on the winning side both times”.

“I presented the oral argument in the second case,” said Ben pridefully.


The host asked, “You are on the record of having been quite critical of the previous president’s use of executive orders to promote his policies when confronted with a hostile Congress.”

“That’s true,” said Ben. “Per Justice Scalia, the president was overreaching and consolidating power through the use of his executive power to supplant the constitutional role of Congress. I wrote an academic paper published in a prominent law journal on the topic”.

“This is a deeply held belief of the Federalist Society?” asked the host.

“It is a core Society value held by each of its 60,000 members,” responded Ben.

“Though the Society is clearly a conservative leaning group, are these values non-partisan in members’ application in their practice of the law?” asked the host.

“The views of the Society and my own core beliefs are based on the Constitution and not at all influenced by myself and other member’s partisan beliefs,” responded Ben.

“The current president has authored more executive orders in a shorter period than the previous president,” observed the host. “Ben, would this constitute executive overreach?”

“I do have some reservations about the current administration’s use of executive power,” responded Ben.

The interview continued for a few more minutes until it concluded with a commercial break for an ED product, a promotional plug for a prime time commentator, and a C-List celebrity concerned that the viewer may not have adequate fairly priced auto insurance.

Supreme Court Lobby
Interior photo of the US Supreme Court Lobby

The List

On Monday morning in the West Wing of the White House, two staff members huddled around their laptops in a cramped office with no windows. “When did the Senate majority leader want this list?” asked Staffer A.

“Wednesday afternoon at the latest,” responded Staffer B.

A bleat and a blinking light alerted Staffer B of an incoming MS Teams chat message. “What was that?” asked Staffer A.

“Just a second,” answered Staffer B, “It’s from Belladonna,” he said using the secret service code name for the White House Chief of Staff.

Staffer A rolled his eyes. Chats from Belladonna almost always meant a redirection or jump-through-the-ass-time.

“Read this,” said Staffer B spinning his laptop around so that staffer A could read the message.

“So the president was watching the Sunday morning follies again,” said Staffer A.

“It looks that way,” said Staffer B. “It’s not too big a deal, and we were working on the list anyway.”

Staffer A scrolled down the list of District court judicial candidates the Majority Leader had requested for Wednesday. “So the president doesn’t like Trou?”

“You know the boss. Did you see the interview yesterday?”

Staffer A nodded, the Sunday morning news shows — particularly the conservative ones — were mandatory watching if they were going to decode the president’s directives for the week.

Staffer A said, “Trou seemed OK to me.”

“Belladona said the president wants judges who are loyal to the president and his cause, not starry-eyed academic theorists,” said Staffer B. “The boss needs judges who are reliable, Trou was too ambiguous about his loyalties.”

Staffer A highlighted Trou, B. Leever on his laptop display and pressed delete.



Studio photo By Enbytv — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Supreme Court By Carol M. Highsmith — Library of Congress Catalog: download: Original url:, Public Domain,