Last night before my girlfriend and I watched the latest James Bond 007 movie, The Quantum of Solace, of which a review of sorts is coming shortly, I picked up a new book from National Bookstore.
It is John Grisham’s latest best-seller The Appeal. Since this is not a review and I haven’t even removed the plastic shrink-wrap from the book, I’d share the teaser printed on the back hoping that I won’t get sued for it.
In a crowded courtroom in Missippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Missippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.
Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?
The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.
The book is timely since Barack Obama’s historic election as US President is still making waves throughout the world and here at home, election season is just around the corner. More so, just as in the book, our own Philippine Supreme Court is about to face a similar situation wherein seven, yes that’s seven Supreme Court Justices will retire next year. Once more, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will have the greatest chance of consolidating her hold in the Supreme Court by having the power to appoint another set of Justices to fill the vacancies.
Though the manner of selecting justices in the state of Missippi is different, theirs is by election while ours, since we only have one Supreme Court, is by Presidential appointment, the process is still the same, it is political in nature.
Now that Arroyo’s stolen term as President is coming to an end, the process of selecting Supreme Court justices would have a profound effect in our country in the coming years especially with all the issues of Charter Change, corruption and election fraud are still lingering. Thankfully, the great constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ discusses this process in his Inquirer column to which many would gain many eye-opening goodies.
Now, as I will begin to read the book this week, I cannot help but ask questions parallel to points in the book like, would Mr. Trudeau’s scheme and machinations give a glimpse of how GMA would select the new Supreme Court justices? Who would be the seven new justices? Would they, in the future decide in favor to GMA in the event she is prosecuted after her Presidency? The messages in the Inquirer’s Editorial for today are a good starting points for answers.
Over all, this would be good read in the following weeks.