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

 

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When God Isn't Green

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

Available Now

Books

Latest Updates

Birds and Buddhists in NYC

I wrote a piece for the great website Religion Dispatches about a ceremony involving bird rehabilitators and Buddhist monks in Central Park.  You can read it...

Updates and Action Pics: New Yorker, New York Times, Klosterman, ABA Journal…

I’ve been delinquent in updating, so here is a sort of omni-post with updates since the last time I got around to updating: The New Yorker wrote a nice paragraph about When God Isn’t Green in connection with my book talk at the NYU Bookstore: We presume that the Garden of Eden was well tended to, that Buddhist monks are inseparable from the lush landscapes they inhabit, and that fasting during Ramadan must help conserve some resources. The author and professor Jay Wexler disassociates the tangentially conflated schools of religion and environmentalism in “When God Isn’t Green,” a nonfiction book that examines a widespread array of religious practices that happen to cause more harm to the environment than good. It’s a counterintuitive but fascinating prospect—Wexler visits Singapore, Guatemala, India, Alaska, and other locales, imagining how different societies might practice their faith with a closer consideration for the planet on which they worship. I was quoted in a New York Times piece about Justice Scalia’s ability to get [laughs] during oral argument: “Scalia was in a whole other league when it came to getting laughs at oral argument,” said Jay D. Wexler, a law professor at Boston University and a leading authority on Supreme Court humor. “If the court were a high school baseball program, Scalia was the ace of the varsity pitching staff, and everyone else played third-string utility infield for the J.V. squad.” Chuck Klosterman, one of my favorite authors, whose road-trip book about dead rock stars was one of the inspirations for Holy Hullabaloos, interviewed me for his great new book But What if We’re Wrong? on the question of whether we might look...

Praise for The Odd Clauses in Slate

Calling it “freakishly prescient” (maybe the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about one of my books) and “a vital guide to . . . formerly ignored constitutional nooks and crannies.”  Full piece...

Some Great New Publicity for When God Isn’t Green

My new book, When God Isn’t Green: A World-Wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practices and Environmentalism Collide, was released last Tuesday, March 15th, and it has gotten some really nice publicity so far.  Here’s a sampling: The Daily Beast ran an excerpt from the chapter on palm forests in Guatemala and Mexico for Palm Sunday. A nice review from MacLean’s Magazine in Canada. Another great review from Foreword. I did this show with Uprising Radio in Los Angeles, which was really fun (more radio is also on the...

Events, Events, Events

This next month is going to be busy, with lots of reading and discussion events.  Here’s the list so far: March 21st  Brookline Booksmith, Discussion of When God Isn’t Green, 7pm March 28th  Boston University School of Law, When God Isn’t Green Mini-Symposium, 12:45-2 (featuring commentary by Paul Horwitz, John Nagle, and Sarah Schindler) March 30th  Kramerbooks, Washington DC, Discussion of When God Isn’t Green, 6:30 pm April 5th  Georgetown Law School, Washington DC, panel discussion about writing about the Supreme Court, 5:30 pm (moderated by Tony Mauro, guests include Irin Carmon, Anthony Franze, David Lat, and Kim Roosevelt) April 21st  NYU Bookstore, New York City, Discussion of When God Isn’t Green, 6pm May 2nd  Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rochester NY Chapter, talk about Our Non-Christian Nation, time TBA I hope you can make it if you live nearby one of these places.  It would be great to see you and maybe drink some Jameson with you from a red plastic cup. ...

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...