A Matter of Principle

An idealist confronts the cynicism of his less chivalrous law school classmates as he jousts his way through the courts, where his views about the law as an instrument of social justice are greeted with scorn and ridicule among his peers - and at the highest levels of an increasingly politicized judicial system.   

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Editor’s Note: A fictionalized account of an historical event that took place in 1986 when an idealistic law student appealed a traffic case to the U.S. Supreme Court, this novel presents a real-life picture of the law school experience, and a speculative account of what may have transpired between justices at the Supreme Court when they considered whether or not to hear a traffic case.  What motivated the young lawyer to embark on such a Quixotic quest all the way to the highest court in the land?  Was his passionate sense of betrayed honor matched by the rage of the Chief Justice, who called him a "small boy" given a loaded pistol "without instruction as to how it should be used?"

These demeaning words found their way into a published opinion, setting off a firestorm in the media, followed by the abrupt resignation of the Chief Justice less than a month later.

Did the uproar lead to the downfall of a Chief Justice?

Perhaps the papers of the Chief Justice will reveal the answer to this and other questions about his tenure but the public will have to wait to find out - his will stipulates that those papers will not be released until 10 years after the death of the last remaining member of the high court who served with him . . .