Tuttle in the Balance

A Novel

For a painless lesson in constitutional theory for the layman, underscoring the “lay,” you’ve got to read this book.
—Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

 

Available Now

When God Isn't Green

A World-Wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide

Coming March 2016

Books

Latest Updates

Super Duper Review of WGIG on Publishers Weekly

Not starred, but still pretty nice.  Full review is here. Boston University law professor Wexler offers a highly entertaining and eye-opening look at situations where freedom of religion and environmental protection clash. From harvesting palms in Guatemala and Mexico for Palm Sunday to the massive burnings of joss in Singapore, Wexler portrays both sides of the debate as sympathetic and deserving of fair treatment. . . .Though he directs this work mainly toward governments and nongovernment organizations, religious and secular readers alike will find much to enjoy and appreciate in this fascinating...

Tuttle Q&A With David Lat at Above the Law

Over at Above the Law you can find an interview I did about Tuttle in the Balance with the incomparable David Lat, whose book Supreme Ambitions is a great read about an ambitious clerk and the ambitious judge she works for.  The Q&A, in which I admit to not being able to play the E chord on the ukulele to save my life, is...

Judge Posner Calls Tuttle a “Comic Masterpiece”

The great Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently read Tuttle in the Balance (as a cat lover, apparently he was moved to read the book initially because someone told him that Tuttle keeps a cat in his chambers) and loved it.  Here is the review he wrote on Amazon: Tuttle in the Balance is a comic masterpiece, fast-paced, hilarious, worthy of Evelyn Waugh, P.G.Wodehouse, or Kingsley Amis. A pungent satire of the Supreme Court, it manages to persuade the reader that the job of a Supreme Court Justice can be really boring, that the Court’s decisions often have little to do with “law” in the conventional sense–that as Justice Tuttle, the protagonist, says at one point: “I never liked constitutional law. It’s barely law at all, in my view. It’s just politics, filtered through a few vague phrases in an old document written by people who couldn’t possibly fathom what the world is like today”–all of which is true. The book has everything–fisticuffs in the Court’s conference room (recalling the fisticuffs in the War Room in Dr. Strangelove), a midlife crisis, sex, booze, gambling in Atlantic City casinos, a car crash, bemused law clerks, a Justice Scalia look-alike, an unlikable female Chief Justice, and–not least–three cats, all in major roles. A movie can be expected. Anyone who is familiar with Posner’s judicial philosophy will recognize quite a bit of it in Tuttle’s dislike of constitutional law, so this endorsement is especially...

National Law Journal Lists Tuttle as One of Ten Books for the Supreme Court Aficionado in Your Life

In a piece for its Supreme Court Brief, which is by subscription only, Tony Mauro of the National Law Journal lists Tuttle in the Balance as one of ten books for the Supreme Court Aficionado in your life.  He says: What would happen if a swing-vote justice suddenly suffered a serious midlife crisis? That’s the premise of Tuttle in the Balance, a funny novel by Wexler, a former clerk to Ginsburg.  After divorce and a rejuvenated sex life, Justice Ed Tuttle finds himself bored on the bench, seeking thrills in all the wrong places. It’s improbable, for sure, but the court details are accurate and readers will find themselves eager to learn how it all turns...

The AV Club Recommends Getting Tuttle for the Veep fan in Your Life

The AV Club’s “Gift Guide for Procrastinators” has some nice things to say about Tuttle in the Balance, which it lists as being a good choice for the Veep fan in your life: Penned by a Boston University law professor and former Supreme Court clerk, Tuttle In The Balance offers a goofy and fundamentally human take on one of the nation’s top government figures that’s likely to appeal to those who prefer political humor to political drama. During the course of Wexler’s debut novel, the titular fictional Supreme Court justice helps a woman steal her dog’s ashes, gets punched by the chief justice after drunkenly attempting to hook up with her, and provokes a brawl in chambers by responding to a pontificating conservative judge by chirping like a bird. Along with the laughs, it also delivers some solid musings on success, friendship, and aging. This is the first time I’ve seen Tuttle publicly compared to Veep, and it makes me happy not only because I love Veep but also because I’ve always thought Tuttle could be made into a television show like Veep.  So, umm,...

Two Great Early Reviews of When God Isn’t Green

My book about religious practices that harm the environment won’t be out until mid-March, but it’s already gotten a couple of really nice reviews from two of the big pre-pub reviewers, Booklist and Kirkus.  Yay.  Here they are: Booklist: If you’ve ever wondered where fronds for Palm Sunday came from or what to do if you find an expired bald eagle, your questions will be answered in this illuminating book. Wexler, inspired by a visit to an eagle repository in Colorado, began to wonder how religious practices connect with the environment, and he takes the reader along on his ensuing journey of discovery. In honest, funny prose, Wexler describes his attempts to understand—and sometimes participate in—rituals that poison waters and clog the air. As it turns out, certain religious practices around the world have been negatively impacting the environment for years—for instance, releasing nonnative species of turtles into the water. Despite his findings, Wexler genuinely and thoughtfully wrestles with the tension between caring for the earth and caring for the people who find these rituals so meaningful. It is a reminder that, for good or ill, the actions of a faithful few can have a major impact. Kirkus: In this evenhanded book, Wexler (Boston Univ. School of Law; Tuttle in the Balance, 2015, etc.) chronicles his travels around the world in search of spiritual practices that threaten environmental stewardship. As a law professor, the author approaches his subjects with clinical curiosity. Is it appropriate for Inuit villagers to hunt whales and eat their blubber, given that whales are so endangered? Should Native Americans be allowed to use bald eagle...

Two Fun Interviews About Tuttle

I did a couple of fun interviews about Tuttle in the Balance and combining humor and the law and my sabbatical in Buenos Aires this past week.  Here’s one from the BU Law website and another in the “Story Behind the Book” feature of the Boston Globe.  I love the little sketch in the Globe...

Mini Tuttle Tour Set

As the pub date for Tuttle in the Balance approaches, I’ve set up a few events in the northeast to read and discuss the book and celebrate its entrance into the world and sign copies.  Here are the details. (1) Boston. Tuesday Dec. 8 at 7 pm at the Harvard Bookstore. (2) New York. Thursday Dec. 10 at Cardozo Law, Room 303, at 7:00, in conversation with special guest awesome and funny federal district court judge Paul Oetken, sponsored by the American Constitution Society. (3) Washington DC. Monday, Dec 14 at 6 at Teaism Penn Quarter, sponsored by the American Constitution Society. (4) Philadelphia. Tuesday Dec. 15, at the Ethical Society building in Rittenhouse Square, at 7, with special guest comedian, writer, and all around funny guy Brian Foley Please come out–I love to meet readers, and I always draw a picture when I sign a book, and the picture is usually of a talking piece of...