Tuesday Routine

How Merrick Garland, a one-time Supreme Court nominee, gets through Tuesdays

Image: Senate Democrats, Art: Silvia

Merrick Garland is a federal judge who sits on the DC Circuit. He was previously nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court, which was then stolen, and most days he grapples with this historic tragedy. He’s begun re-watching movies, not only as a form of escapism, but also to be reminded that people have always been fucked up. “I like to revise my list of favorite movies in every year since I was born,” Garland explained. “Eventually I’ll publish the list to Facebook. Maybe on the day Neil Gorsuch is confirmed as associate justice to the Supreme Court?”

LAZY MORNING Maybe I hit the snooze button for once in my life. What’s the rush? Tuesday will be the same as Monday. Maybe I’ll turn over and stare at the wall until it starts blurring like a Magic Eye. Maybe I’ll imagine the wall moving closer to me, inch by inch, until it finally touches my nose and maybe the ceiling is moving towards me too. And soon I’m in a box and I’m being shipped to wherever President Obama is. Maybe we’ll go for a run and maybe a group of teenagers will see us, and maybe they’ll scream, “Run, Forrest, run,” and then laugh and maybe I’ll tense up. Maybe President Obama will say, “Merrick, wake up. Kids today don’t know who Forrest Gump is. They’re laughing with us. We’re all laughing because we ran our fastest mile.”

MORE LAZINESS Maybe I’ll wake up and I’ll put on the sweats already on the floor, and I’ll go watch Charlie Rose before I leave for work. Maybe my wife will tell me, “Don’t go in today. You don’t have oral arguments. Your clerks can send a car with the briefs and the memos.” Maybe I’ll say, “I know,” but get up to leave anyhow. Maybe I’ll grab a box of Cheez-its on the way, and maybe my wife, following me, will say, “You can’t eat snacks for breakfast,” and I’ll say, “they’re the new toasted kind,” and maybe she will hand me a poached egg which I’ll eat on the stairs, with my hands, the yolk blending with the Cheez-its and dribbling down my t-shirt. Maybe my wife will gag and fake kick me and maybe, briefly, we’ll dance, like that young couple from La La Land.

TATTOOS Maybe I’ll leave the house, and drive aimlessly until I realize I’m in a parking lot of a tattoo parlor. Maybe I’ll briefly think about getting a Finding Nemo tattoo on my calf. It’ll be the blue fish and it’ll be captioned “Just keep swimming.” Maybe the shop will be closed though, and good thing, because I didn’t really mean to get a tattoo, and especially one that covered the entire bottom half of one leg. And maybe as I’m starting the car again, my clerk Andrew will call me, and ask, “Hey, Judge Garland, next time you’re in, no rush, but next time you have time, can you call that partner at Skadden about interviewing me again. Tell him that the B I have in Constitutional Law, it should be like a B plus now, maybe an A minus, thanks to all I’ve learned about the Constitution working under you.” And maybe I’ll say, “You probably deserved the B, Andrew. Distrust in experts is what got us into this mess.”

HANGRY Maybe I’ll remember I’m hungry. Maybe I pull into the bistro where I’m a regular, and maybe the waitress whose child’s school fundraisers I regularly support says, “The usual?” and I nod. And maybe I grab a table and read and wait for my meal. Maybe, when I’m sending back my sandwich because it has mayo on it again, Justice Kennedy appears and says to me, “I’m still the swing Justice, Merrick.” And maybe I’ll say, “Oh, go to Hell, Justice Kennedy,” because who the fuck cares anymore. And maybe he will gasp theatrically and reach for my table to regain his balance. And maybe, just as his hand touches the table, I’ll turn into the Joker, the Dark Knight Joker, and shake the table psychotically, and he’ll lose his balance and he will fall down. And maybe I’ll run out of the café, Merrick again, and just as I leave, my waitress will yell, “Justice Garland, your sandwich!” and Justice Kennedy will say, “It’s Judge Garland.” Maybe I’ll keep running until I get to my car, and then remembering I never ate, I’ll keep driving, all the way to Wegmans in Maryland.

DREAMING OF HOME Maybe when I get to Wegmans I’ll push the cart along the perimeter, like they say you’re supposed to. Maybe I’ll receive a New York Times alert that Senators McCain and Graham support the nuclear option and maybe I tell the woman handing out dumplings that Judge Gorsuch will surely be confirmed now. Maybe she responds, “Do you want one more? The quicker I get rid of these the quicker I can go home.” And maybe then I remember that Washington is a bubble. That, yes, it matters who sits on the Supreme Court, but that it’s still a job, and that some days Justice Gorsuch will also daydream about going home.

ALWAYS CONNECT Maybe I’ll finally fill up my gas tank, so my wife doesn’t know I was driving around all day, again, and maybe when I walk into the gas station, to pay cash because my credit card has just been declined, Hillary will be there. And maybe I’ll ask, “What are you doing here?” and maybe she’ll say, “Buying cigarettes.” And then she’ll add, “Do you know what group of people comprising predominantly of white males I’d really like to absolutely fucking obliterate?” And maybe, because I just re-watched Silence of the Lambs the night before, I’ll answer, “Serial killers?” and then Hillary will say, “No, Republican Senators.” Maybe then she will ask me if I want a cigarette, and I’ll say yes even though she hasn’t paid for them yet and I haven’t smoked since college. Maybe I’ll light up and we will both cough heavily and then maybe Hillary will say, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg better never fucking die,” and I’ll agree, and then we’ll cough some more, before we split a Powerball ticket and go our separate ways.