Son, could you come in here for a second? Well, I'm sorry, but that newspaper's just going to have to wait, because we really need to talk. Son, your mother and I have been worried about you. Your grades have been slipping, you've been spending less time with your friends, and you've been shutting yourself in your room for hours at a time. Now, I know it may make you feel uncomfortable to talk about it, but this Supreme Court obsession of yours has become a problem.

You can debate with me and defend yourself all you want, but it's evident to your mother and me that your interest borders on unhealthy. The Supreme Court is all you talk about. You lie awake at night making up fantasy scenarios about what kind of decisions William Rehnquist might make in the matter of Jill L. Brown, Acting Warden v. Charles Payton. I mean, you get more excited about the first Monday in October than your friends do about Super Bowl Sunday! Son, you shouldn't plan your life around the start of the new Supreme Court term.

Okay, name one thing you do, besides sleeping or eating, that doesn't involve the Supreme Court. Bassoon lessons don't count. Your mom and I make you take those. If you had your way, you'd be up in your room, cutting pictures of your favorite justices out of the Washington Post to add to your mural, which is another thing we need to discuss.

It's perfectly natural to go through a Supreme Court phase. I went through one myself when I was your age. I remember spending hours in the library poring over orders of the Court. I spent nights lying in bed imagining I was presiding with Warren Burger or John Jay. I even had quite a collection of court drawings from the Furman v. Georgia case that—well, I think I was able to get them because my friend's dad knew someone who knew a lawyer. No, son, I don't still have them. My point is that I know what you're going through.

But here's the difference: Even though I was an enormous fan of the Supreme Court, I had other interests. I read mysteries. I went to movies. I kept up on the appellate and state courts and played basketball with friends. I had some of my favorite opinions up on the wall, much like you do, but I also had a couple of pictures of hot rods and a poster of Mia Farrow. Look at your room—there's nothing but collages of court justices through the years. Your floor is covered with printouts of opinions and dissents. You spend all night on the Internet holding mock Supreme Court hearings in the chat rooms. I don't want to say it's not normal, but I do think it's behavior we need to evaluate.

Well, because it's affecting your school career. When you fake being sick, it does. Do you think your mother and I are stupid? Do you think we don't know when Court TV airs major Supreme Court decisions? Son, everybody is interested in what the Supreme Court has to say, but you can't skip school just so you can watch the outcome of United States v. Galetti. Why can't you be more like everyone else and read it the next day on page 42 in the newspaper?

Your mother and I thought if we talked to you, we might be able to show you just how far you've sunk into this Supreme Court obsession. But it's clear I'm not getting through to you. From now on, no Supreme Court of any kind. No decisions, no dissenting opinions, nothing. We're taking away your computer, and I'm going to talk to the school librarian, so if you think you can look at Supreme Court information at school, you've got another think coming. If I catch you with so much as a stay application, you'll be grounded for a month!

You're still free to read about the appellate courts, and of course I won't take your law reviews. I know it's not the same. But if you behave, maybe your mother and I will let you have your copy of Closed Chambers after a month or two. This isn't easy for me, either, but crying isn't going to help. Let's see if you can stay away from the Supreme Court for six months. Yes, six months. No, you will not die.

Don't be so dramatic. The Supreme Court is the most important judicial body in America, but it isn't everything. I'm sure you'll find plenty of things to occupy your time. Well, you'd better, because for the next six months, you are going to be Antonin Scalia and Sandra Day O'Connor-free, whether you like it or not.

Yes, my decision is final.