a novel


Like many men his age, Ed Tuttle is having a mid-life crisis. He is bored with his job, uncertain about his faith, and unable to find love in the wake of divorce. Unlike most other men his age, however, Ed Tuttle is a justice on the United States Supreme Court.

As the swing vote in one of the most contentious terms in recent memory, Justice Tuttle holds the future of the nation in his hands, a tall order for someone who can barely make it through a weekend without making a monumental life mistake.

In this hilarious and poignant debut novel, Jay Wexler—law professor, humor writer, and former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—reminds us that power is wielded by real, often emotionally fragile people and that nobody, regardless of how successful, powerful, rich, intelligent, lucky, or influential they may be, is immune from the feelings of restlessness, doubt, and anxiety that are inherent in living in the modern world.

Tuttle in the Balance is a comic masterpiece, fast-paced, hilarious, worthy of Evelyn Waugh, P.G.Wodehouse, or Kingsley Amis.

Judge Richard A. Posner

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Just like corporations and Soylent Green, Supreme Court justices are people too. Unbeknownst to us, the justices may get drunk, engage in regrettable sexual encounters, and doodle pictures during oral argument. This is one of the main themes of Boston University law professor Jay Wexler’s new satirical legal novel Tuttle in the Balance, which depicts a bored Supreme Court justice undergoing a midlife crisis. The novel, which is a cross between American Beauty and the works of Christopher Buckley, is a humorous and enjoyable read for any lawyer or law student.

Above the Law

Disrobing a judge might not be pretty, but Wexler makes it too funny to look away. Tuttle is full of the cringeworthy confessions, terrible decisions, and existential crises that make the best kind of humor. Watching a powerful white man chip away at his own privilege has never been this fun.

Beth Lisick

author of Everybody Into the Pool and Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames

This is the best — and, I must admit, only— novel I’ve ever read that deftly utilizes the possible reversal of a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Establishment Clause as a plot device within a light romantic comedy.

Chuck Klosterman

author of I Wear the Black Hat and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

What would happen if a swing-vote justice suddenly suffered a mid-life crisis? That’s the premise of Tuttle in the Balance, a funny novel by [Jay] Wexler, a former clerk to Ginsburg. After a 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 out.

Tony Mauro

National Law Journal

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. . . . Along with the laughs, it also delivers some solid musings on success, friendship, and aging.

The Onion AV Club

Savvy watchers of our highest court will have a blast reading this zany take on the antics of a bored 60-year-old who happens to be a horny Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court going through a mid-life crisis. Seeking refuge from the tired debates over competing ways of interpreting our 1787 Constitution, this sex-starved Justice finds himself immersed in what turn out to be the remarkably similar disputes over how to interpret Chuang Tzu’s Taoist writings of a couple thousand years ago. 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

Both laugh out-loud funny and emotionally stirring, the rueful and lusty Tuttle in the Balance feels like what you might get if Richard Russo wrote a Supreme Court novel, or Nick Hornby visited the Beltway. I loved it.

Henry Alford

Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and author of How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)

The notion of a sixtyish man in that important a position suffering like a 14-year-old girl is probably more true to life than I might wish, but it makes me so uncomfortable that I just cannot enjoy the story.

An Agent Who Rejected the Novel

Tuttle in the Balance book cover

Ankerwycke Books, December 2015

Order from Amazon


Above the Law interview

New Hampshire Public Radio Word of Mouth interview

Above the Law review of Tuttle in the Balance

Julianna Baggott’s 1/2 Dozen interview

Boston Globe “The Story Behind the Book”

Boston University Law School interview

Maryland Appellate Blog review of Tuttle in the Balance

Publishers Weekly piece about the launch of Akerwycke Press

New York Times brief mention of Tuttle in the Balance

Mention in Chicago Tribune

Ten SCOTUS novels in ABA Journal

CSPAN Book TV show of Supreme Court book club at Georgetown Law