Scene: United States, Washington, DC, Capitol Hill
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings
Supreme Court Nominee Confirmation Hearing
[Third day of hearings, late afternoon DC sun pours through the windows as the usual summer afternoon thunderheads build in the distance.]
[The room is humid with the stagnant, pollution laden DC air barely cooled by the rickety air conditioning system, heavy with the smell of stale reporter body odor.]
[Senators file in from their afternoon break, hearings continue.]
[Crappy, grainy C-SPAN 2 camera pans in on Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Committee Chairman]
[Poor audio feed crackles and pops]
Sen Durbin: *bangs gavel* I call this Committee to order.
Sen. Durbin: Sen. ‘Puter, you may begin your questioning of the nominee.
Sen. ‘Puter to Chairman Durbin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Sen. ‘Puter to Nominee: Ma’am, I have reviewed your resume, your decisions, and your writings. I have spoken with your supporters in the Senate. I have spoken with your colleagues on the bench. I have spoken with people with whom you have worked. You are an impressive legal mind and a competent jurist. You seem to be a well-qualified nominee.
Nominee: Thank you, Senator.
Sen. ‘Puter: I know you are well-qualified, though I do not agree with your views on constitutional interpretation. You know you are well-qualified. Even many of your opponents grudgingly admit you are well qualified.
My first question for you is why does President Biden not believe you are well-qualified?
Nominee: Senator, I’m not sure I understand your question. I do not believe I would have been nominated had I not been the most qualified for this position.
Sen. ‘Puter: I agree with you, ma’am. So how is it then that the president denigrates your accomplishments in the belittling circumstances surrounding your nomination?
[general murmuring in the audience, loud overlapping outbursts from the Committee’s Democrats]
Sen. Durbin: *bangs gavel* Order. ORDER! Sen. ‘Puter, the Chairman admonishes you to be respectful of the nominee!
Sen. ‘Puter: With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, it is not I who have diminished or cast aspersions on the nominee or her qualifications in any manner. It is rather our president. I have heard your admonition and am so instructed but I would like the nominee to answer my question.
Sen. Durbin: *glares at Sen. ‘Puter* *wonders what’s up Sen. ‘Puter’s sleeve* *knows he can’t get away with smacking Sen. ‘Puter down publicly yet*
Sen. Durbin: The nominee may answer Sen. ‘Puter’s question.
Nominee: I do not believe the president has belittled me at any time before or during my nomination process.
Sen. ‘Puter: No? You don’t? I’d like to come back to this question but I will move on for the moment.
Sen. ‘Puter: Ma’am, do you believe it would be legal for the University of Maryland to say it will only accept white men for its incoming class starting this fall?
Nominee: That’s a hypothetical and …
Sen. ‘Puter: It’s a simple question. Do you believe the University of Maryland could say it will only admit white men?
Nominee: *shifts nervously*
Sen. ‘Puter: It’s not a trick question. Can the University of Maryland say it will only admit white men, yes or no?
Nominee: Based on federal law and the Constitution, no. The University of Maryland could not say it will only admit white men.
Sen. ‘Puter: Let’s reframe the question and ask it from a different perspective. Could Howard University, a traditionally excellent HBCU right up North Capitol Street from here, say it will only admit black women in its incoming class?
Nominee: *is clearly nervous* *glances at Sen. Durbin* *consults her handler*
Sen. ‘Puter: Come on, ma’am. You know the answer. You can say it. I’m not trying to play you.
Sen. Durbin: *is clearly agitated* *is visibly worried about Sen. ‘Puter’s up to*
Nominee: Sen. ‘Puter, no. Howard University could not categorically exclude all applicants who were not black women.
Sen. ‘Puter: And why is that, ma’am?
Nominee: Again, both federal law and the Constitution forbid discrimination on the basis of race.
Sen. ‘Puter: I see. I agree with you, ma’am. And why is that the case, that racial discrimination is forbidden?
Nominee: *launches into a lengthy discussion of legal precedents and the Constitution*
Sen. ‘Puter: *listens respectfully* I see. That’s legally why we in America reject racial discrimination. But what’s the practical reason behind the wide agreement among Americans that racial discrimination is wrong?
Nominee: I … I don’t know what you’re getting at Sen. ‘Puter. Could you help me understand your question a bit better and I’ll do my best to give you a clear and honest answer?
Sen. ‘Puter: Certainly, ma’am. I do not mean to be unclear or obtuse. Do Americans agree racial discrimination is bad at least in part because it excludes capable people who may be better applicants for admission or jobs than the group allowed to apply?
Nominee: *thinks* *pauses* I agree that may be part of the reason Americans reject racial discrimination, particularly in education and in jobs.
Sen. ‘Puter: So then – and I ask this respectfully – is it possible that Americans might suspect that a person who gets a job from which every other group of Americans except for the group of which the successful applicant is a member might be less qualified or unqualified for the job which such person holds?
Sen. Durbin: *realizes with horror where Sen. ‘Puter is going* *bangs gavel* SEN. ‘PUTER, YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO WITHDRAW THAT QUESTION IMMEDIATELY!
[chaos ensues in the hearing room]
Sen. ‘Puter: It is my questioning time, Sen. Durbin. I have asked nothing beyond the pale. I am asking the nominee for her views on racial discrimination. I have agreed with her throughout. I have stated she is well-qualified. What is your specific objection to my question?
[uproar from the gallery, Capitol Police enter]
Sen. Durbin: *sputters impotently* *turns red* *bangs gavel* THE CHAIR MOVES FOR A RECESS!
Sen. ‘Puter: No. I demand an answer to my question now and then we can go into recess.
[Committee Republicans shout down Committee Democrats. It is clear Sen. Durbin is losing control of the hearing]
Sen. ‘Puter: Senators, can we all please be calm? There is no need for an uproar. I would like an answer to my question and then we can adjourn.
[hearing room and senators call down]
Sen. ‘Puter: Ma’am, please answer my questions.
Nominee: I would prefer not to answer that question.
Sen. ‘Puter: That is your right, of course. However, it is then our right to take your refusal to be forthright into consideration of your nomination. I would prefer you answer my questions so there will be no blemish on your otherwise spotless record.
So I ask again, is it possible that Americans might suspect that a person who gets a job from which every other group of Americans except for the group of which the successful applicant is a member might be less qualified or unqualified for the job which such person holds?
Nominee: Yes, Senator. It is possible in such circumstances Americans would think such a job holder less or even unqualified for the job that person holds.
[audible gasps in the gallery and from the Committee]
Sen. ‘Puter: And that, ma’am, is the tragedy of affirmative action, the soft bigotry of low expectations, the assumption that minorities cannot compete and win on their own.
I would like to be clear, I will break with my colleagues to support your nomination provided no disqualifying information comes to light because I think you are clearly qualified. I am sorry the president has done you the grave disservice of tarnishing your accomplished career with his racial discrimination.
I wish you many productive years on the Court, even as I am certain I will disagree with practically everything you decide. Good luck, ma’am.
Sen. Durbin: *raises gavel* We are in …
Sen. ‘Puter: Mr. Chairman, I have not yet yielded my time. I have one final question.
Sen. Durbin: *exasperated* Proceed, Senator.
Sen. ‘Puter: I’d like to return to my earlier question, the one for which I did not receive an answer. After our discussions here this afternoon, do you now believe that by restricting the field of nominees to only black women that the president has belittled you and your accomplishments?
Nominee: *blushes* *pauses*
Sen. Durbin: SEN. ‘PUTER YOUR ACTIONS HERE TODAY ARE BENEATH …
Sen. ‘Puter: Question withdrawn. Mr. Chairman, I yield the remainder of my time. Are we now in recess?
[absolute mayhem erupts in the hearing room, reporters rush out the doors to their cameras in the corridor]
[Sen. Durbin, Committee Democrats, and Committee Republicans sit in stunned silence momentarily wondering what they just witnessed]
[Sen. Durbin murmurs something about being in recess until 6:00 PM, bangs his gavel.]
[Sen. ‘Puter rises, descends from the dais, and speaks quietly with the nominee. The nominee smiles after a couple of minutes, they shake hands and go their separate ways]
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.