Judge Harry T. Edwards of the D.C. Circuit was next up for Howard Bashman's "20 questions for the appellate judge." But at the last minute, he backed out. Now Howard is warning, "If I am unable to obtain a replacement October 2004 interviewee by this Friday, this web log's '20 questions for the appellate judge' feature will permanently come to an end after twenty quite remarkable installments in twenty months."
It seems sort of draconian that Howard might cancel the entire feature if he misses a single month, but I don't think it's an idle threat. Howard's crazy like that, and he could easily pull the plug on the entire "20 questions" feature just to spite appellate judges across the land. We can't let it happen!
At first, I was willing to offer to mediate the dispute between Howard and Judge Edwards. So twenty questions is just too many for the busy judge--how about ten questions? Or five questions? If Howard didn't agree, how about twenty very easy questions? "How old are you, You Honor?" "What's your favorite soup, Your Honor?" Easy questions like that. Judge Edwards would be finished in no time.
But given the shrill tone of Howard's warning, I sense there is no time for mediation. Instead, we must help him find a replacement. This means me, and this means you. Everyone knows an appellate judge or two. Some people even have one for an uncle or distant cousin. Call them on the phone, today. Explain that Howard Bashman's "20 questions" feature--which isn't quite yet an American institution, but is pretty damn close--is about to be deposited into the dustbin of history if we can't work some last minute magic.
And I don't want to hear anyone dumping on Judge Edwards. It's not about Judge Edwards anymore. If he was too busy to answer Howard's questions due to the press of other business, or because he had a family crisis, or just because he's still having trouble hooking up his new Tivo--it doesn't matter. "20 questions" is bigger than any single judge, even if that judge happens to sit on the D.C. Circuit. No, it's a problem for all of us. So get to work, dammit. Help Howard find a replacement. No complaining will be allowed.
UPDATE 10/1/04. Amazing news: A replacement has been found!