(Editor’s Note: The following is a satirical news column and the events it depicts are fictional.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (RNS) After a tip from on high, The Literalist recently embedded with an FBI team sent to Israel to scour the record of President Obama’s latest rumored pick as Supreme Court nominee.
It is the biblical judge Deborah, who ruled the ancient Israelites for 40 years in the 11th century B.C.
The FBI team had little to go on outside the “official” narrative in the Book of Judges.
“This might be my toughest case yet,” Special Agent-in-Charge Tom Baldwin told us as he disembarked at Ben Gurion International Airport, “but we’re going to start out with her connection to Barak.”
That’s Barak without a “c,” son of Abinoam, who served as a commander with Deborah in their defeat of the Canaanite armies led by Sisera.
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Back in Washington, court watchers quickly analyzed the news.
The Book of Judges reports “she held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.” SCOTUSblog has begun releasing daily analysis, called “Under the Palm,” where various constitutional law experts parse her scriptural precedents.
Senate Republicans are perplexed at the prospect of her nomination. “Puts us in a real tight spot,” said one senior GOP aide, who requested anonymity in accordance with her fear of God. “Blocking the nomination could mean opposing God’s will, and we surely don’t want to end up like the Canaanites.”
Cheerier voices could be found up Pennsylvania Avenue. White House press secretary Josh Earnest sang the prophetess’s praises in a Rose Garden reporter gaggle, telling a skeptical political press corps: “Warrior! Prophet! Wife! Ruler! We’ve obviously got this in the bag.” He continued giddily for more than 30 minutes in response to a single question, “I don’t care that she didn’t go to Harvard or Yale like the rest of them, let’s see how much the Republicans really love Israel now.”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg commented: “Nominating a hero of the biblical narrative to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia would honor his devotion to America’s religious heritage. But he probably would have preferred one of the many, many, many men in the Bible.”
Women with cases before the court, including affirmative action challenger Abigail Fisher and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, welcomed the prospect of what many consider to be a strong female leader. But, Burwell said, “We want to know more about her record since the world has changed a lot in the last three millennia.”
(Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons writes The Literalist, a twice-weekly satirical news column for RNS. His writing on faith and public policy has appeared in Sojourners, The Washington Post, Texas Tribune and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @guthriegf)