BY KATHLEEN SULLIVAN
Just in case you had any doubts, I am still the most qualified, most successful, and most impressive lawyer who has ever lived. Period. I know some of you harbor some doubts because Barack hasn’t yet nominated me for anything, but let me remind you of why they call me the Nivian of the Ninth Circuit, the Galadriel of Pro Bono, and the Cruella of Corporate Litigation.
First, my hat is off to Elena for getting confirmed as Solicitor General. Bravo. This is exactly the position she needs to round out her solid academic work with some real courtroom experience. After a few years playing verbal ping pong with Nino she’ll be ready to get in line for a spot on the Court. Congratulations are also in order for Harold. I’m sure he was dying to get out of New Haven, and Hillary will keep him busy on plenty of juicy matters that will make for great memoirs. I applaud Barack on selecting such excellent Harvard grads to undo the damage those Republicans did to our nation and our courts by ignoring the opinions of highly esteemed legal scholars like ourselves. My colleagues are truly making a major sacrifice to take these positions, and no doubt it is in order to bolster their standing in the perpetual quest to sit on the Court or else accrue some of that ineffable prestige which is so crucial in garnering the fantastic, colossal sums I have been earning in the private sector.
And make no mistake, I have been earning huge, amazing, gargantuan sums of money. In front of a jury, I am excellent. When I finish, each juror’s mind has been wiped clear of their predispositions against my client, and on that tabula rasa I etch the facts they need to know to render the judgment or verdict I advocate. And while this is certainly no small feat in itself, the real seat of my power is not my sway over juries, but in my hypnotic control over the judges. Step into the Ninth Circuit, and you will witness me as the master of the universe, spinning worlds and destroying stars in the constellations of legal doctrine. With my brief having already laid the post-hypnotic seeds of their undoing, my words alter the very foundations of the judges’ conception of the law. Whether it is Kozinski or Reinhardt, Kleinfeld or Bybee, I can always subvert at least one member of a panel, and when my petition for rehearing gets granted – and it always gets granted – the opposing counsel might as well just send me the money en banc, because if they don’t settle I’ll be back in trial court with the judge dancing to whatever tune I sing.
You may be saying to yourself that there remains one jurist out their greater, one titan beyond even my powers to best. You wonder, “How could she be so vain?” But no, you would be wrong. With my victory in Granholm v. Heald, 544 U.S. 460 (2005), I am now stronger than even Larry Tribe. What other fate could there be for the Grand Master than to be dethroned by his own best student? You demand proof, and I have it. Tribe uses my casebook. The spells and incantations relied on by that very same Wizard of the Court to whom you bow are now written by me, and through him my words now serve as the foundation of the next generation’s understanding of the Constitution. It is only a matter of time before the sycophants and acolytes that worship at his feet come clamoring to me, the rightful heir to the throne of Supreme Court Primacy.
You ask now, what about the Court? Surely the greatest jurist in the land must be one who has been nominated and confirmed, enshrined as a living God on the throne of justice. But you would be wrong again, for just as there were nine rings given to the men that made them mighty among their peers, there is ultimately only One who rules them all. In each generation that title must pass to a new Master, and I am that Atlas, the bearer of a weight for all the world. Through me, that strength will be a power for good and equity, and through my words the Court will hear its own bickering drawn into a single dominant jurisprudence.
There may some day be one greater than myself, for if the potential of our youth lives up to that of my generation then there is certain to come along a student of adequate ability whom I can mold into a successor. But until I project the wisdom of my mind onto a follower of sufficient skill, I shall remain the One, the standard bearer of this generation, the Greatest Damn Lawyer In The World.
Kathleen Sullivan ’81 is a Partner at Quinn Emanuel and former Dean of Stanford Law School
Entitled Opinions graciously provided the above image.