An appellate court judge who stands four feet ten inches tall is the common denominator in court corruption. When the California Supreme Court receives a case so outrageous, they are beside themselves. They can't turn him in because they have upheld some of his previous decisions that also reeked of corruption. They don't want to get tied to covering up for colleagues. They can't send it to another court, because those judges might be honest. They return it to the court it came from. They uphold their original decision.
Since they can't turns him in, the Chief Justice Talcolm Powder devises a scheme to force one of the California Supreme judges from the bench after he is certain he has planted the idea of Reuben Ortotzo, the littlest god, into the minds of some of California's most influential politicians. The California Senate Committee on the Judiciary discovers he is in all likelihood corrupt, but pass on the nomination in fear of making the governor look bad.
Once on the court, it becomes apparent from the appellate court decisions the California Supreme Court reviews Reuben is still in business with his former colleagues. The only difference is being on the California Supreme Court he serves as the appellate court advocate for the paid-for-in-advance decisions his former colleagues delivered. Besides his advocacy, his quick wit is driving members mad. When one court member mutters "I wish that man were dead" Reuben is tired in absentia. The only problem is since the State of California did not bring the charges, then the members have to find a way to carry out the sentence. A fund is started for a hit contract. Fortunately, one of the judges has a contact with someone who appeared before him.
Judge Stearns who is to travel to Harvard for a conference is handed the assignment of contacting the possible hit man in New York. When he meets the hit man, he is shocked to discover the hit man only does husbands and wives, and only if they cheated on their mates. He never would have suspected hit contracts to develop niche markets. He is referred to another hit man who agrees to the assignment. Stearns receives another shock when he discovers the man only works weekends so it won't interfere with his day job, a judge in the New York State court systems. The judge takes pride in his work and guarantees its completion.
The hit contract doesn't go very well. Reuben's lack of height save him on several occasions. One time a mail box comes to the rescue, another time a passing bus. The hit man because of all of the cross country trips begins to suffer red-eye from taking the red eye. His vision isn't what it was 3,000 miles earlier. When he finally gets caught, it becomes a case of the first one who coughs up names gets the best deal.