Supreme Betrayal Excerpt

 

But like a terrible, addictive habit, here he was again. This time he was a candidate to become a Justice on the highest court in the land. His vote was to be the important swing vote for a divided court. His sense of entitlement, narcissistic attitude, and political ideology was repugnant to her. On top of all of this, he was a criminal. Hayley was beside herself.

What should I do? What can I do after all of these years? Who would believe me? Would I be wasting my time? Causing myself unnecessary pain and aggravation? How can such a man be qualified to serve on the United States Supreme Court? Has he done this to anyone else?

“Honey? Are you okay?” Joel snapped her out of her thoughts. She didn’t even realize he was holding her.

“Joel, Oh my God! How can they even consider this guy? Did they get my letter? Do they know what kind of man he is? What kind of predator he is? How can they do this?” She looked into his eyes, pleading for words of comfort, understanding and, perhaps, wisdom.

“Hayley, sweetheart, maybe they don’t know.”

“The committees must have gotten my letter.”

“You never heard from either committee or from the press for that matter. These committees sort through a lot of bullshit. Maybe the letter got buried in bureaucracy.”

“And the press? What’s their excuse?”

“Who knows, Hayley? They get thousands of tips, leads and story ideas every day, same type of bureaucracy issues in a different setting. It’s not some right-wing conspiracy—maybe it just got lost or ignored and deep-sixed somewhere.”

“Maybe…” Hayley drifted off in thought.

“Hayley?” Joel squeezed her hand, bringing her back.

“Oh Joel, how many times must I rehash this? I can’t keep going back.”

“Who says you have to? Wilkinson certainly has the legal and judicial credentials to be a Supreme

Court Justice. Maybe we just leave well enough alone and mind our own business.”

Joel didn’t really mean what he said. He was brilliantly leading her to the only choice she had—she needed to expose this asshole for the predator he was. His strategy worked, almost immediately.

“And what happens when a rape victim needs an abortion? What happens when the Court looks at issues of government funding for victim programs? What happens to a wide variety of social issues a guy like Wilkinson couldn’t give two shits about? David won’t have any chance to beat Goliath for the next forty years!”

“I understand that, sweetheart, but those are issue of political and legal ideology. Do you oppose him because he’s a criminal or because he’s an extreme right-wing Republican?”

“Both. What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. If you’re going to do something, though, whatever that might be, I want you to do it for the right reasons. Would you go after Wilkinson if he was on your side of the issues?”

And there it was. Leave it to Joel to wrap this up into a neat little one- sentence package.

"Would I?" She paused, staring into outer space again. Joel squeezed her hand.

“Damned straight I would!” Hayley growled.

“He’s a criminal! He should be in prison! He never should have been granted a law license let alone a seat on the circuit or appellate court. Supreme Court? Oliver Wilkinson? Joel, that is a bridge too far!”

“So, what do you propose to do?” Hayley was in agony. She crinkled her nose, tightly closed her eyes and dropped her head into her hands.

“I don’t have a clue. What do you propose, my knight in shining armor?” Joel was developing a germ of an idea.

“Are you ready to go public with this?”

“Your idea is to go public? What about the kids?”

“How would the kids feel as adults in twenty or thirty years and this guy is still a Supreme Court Justice? How would they feel knowing their mother could have done something to prevent it and did nothing?”

“Boy, you don’t pull any punches! What happened to my patient, loving and supportive knight?”

“He’s right here, Hayley. He’s watched this guy occupy an important space in your head for years.

This asshole has affected your relationships, your career choices, your moods, even how you sleep and dream. Your loving knight in shining armor says it is time to fight back.”

“What do you propose?”

“You remember Zachary Blake?”

“The lawyer? The one with all the large verdicts and the big ego?”

“That’s the one. The ego is well-deserved because he is the best in the city.”

“Okay, what about him?”

“Zack sends me patients from time to time—we work together on serious accident cases.”

“I guess I knew that. What does that have to do with me and Wilkinson?”

“Zack is a powerful guy in Michigan politics. He’s a large donor to the Democratic Party in Michigan and nationally. He’s well connected and very politically active. He can’t be happy with the Wilkinson appointment.”

“So?”

“I think we should make an appointment to see him, tell him the whole story, let him investigate and expose this guy. No one knows how to play the media better than Zachary Blake. He’s the master. If there are legal issues, or if you are called to testify before the Bar or the Senate, Zack can provide legal advice and representation.”

“I don’t know, Joel. Other than my original complaint, my letters, the only person I’ve ever talked to about this is you.”

“What original complaint? You never mentioned that before.”

“When this first happened, I filed a police report and told the West Bloomfield police the whole story.”

“What happened?”

“Oliver’s parents intervened. They were wealthy, powerful people—very politically connected. That’s probably how Oliver became a judge in the first place. Anyway, West Bloomfield PD conducted a very short investigation and I was told it was my word against his. He never actually did anything to me, they said, so why ruin his future? Higher-ups in West Bloomfield put pressure on me to back off. My parents were embarrassed about the whole thing. Eventually, the case was discontinued for lack of evidence. Never sat well with me, as you well know.”

“That’s good to know. That means there is an original record that may come in handy. If we decide to go forward, make sure Zack knows about that report and investigation.”

“Oh, Joel! What about our careers? This could be a huge media and political spectacle. Press could descend on our front lawn. What about the kids, the school, the neighbors? What about our privacy?” Hayley squinted in anguish and buried her face in her hands.

“All good points. Again, we don’t have to do this. But I am tired of seeing this space Oliver

Wilkinson continues to occupy in your brain. It’s your choice and yours alone. I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. But, I say, go for it! Yes, there will be short-term pain, but the long-term gain, if you are successful, will be well worth it. I can handle it. I’m sure the kids can too. And I know Zack will help us make this as painless as possible. He really is the master. The more important question is can you handle it? Are you up for this, Hayley?” Again, Hayley Schultz paused, deep in thought.

“Let’s do it,” she finally said with determination.

“Call Zack—let’s expose this bastard and let the chips fall where they may.”

“That’s my girl. I’m on it, sweetheart.”

 

Joel and Hayley Schultz stood and embraced. Joel hugged the love of his life as if he would never let go. Hayley felt so comfortable in his embrace. When they finally separated they gazed into each other’s eyes, perhaps second-guessing their decision to move forward. Joel took Hayley’s hand and led her upstairs to the master bedroom. Their lives were about to change, forever…

 

For better or for worse?