The West Wing (1999–2006): Season 5, Episode 17 - The Supremes - full transcript

Josh's efforts to break the deadlock over judicial nominees is brought to a head by the death of a Supreme Court Justice. With the Republicans controlling Congress, the administration's chances of getting a replacement they want appear to be slim. Despite this, Josh and Toby begin back-channel negotiations over a radical scheme which could be exactly what the overly-moderate judicial system needs.

Previously on The West Wing:

Set me a meeting with
the Judiciary chief of staff.

- Lisa Wolfe?
- Butts in seats. I'm packing the court.

I'm a Republican, and I've spent
every day of the past five years...

...wondering whether judges shouldn't
be appointed by executive decree.

Nothing more serious
than getting judges on the bench.

How about on the Supreme Court?

- We lost a Supreme Court justice.
- Justice Ashland's dead?

Justice Brady. Owen Brady.
Heart attack.

On my worst day...

...I am better than
the ambulance chasers... could get confirmed
by the Senate.

Tommy at Justice, Covitz at Justice,
Citizens for a Strong America.

- Archbishop Gaudio. Archbishop Rummel.
- What?

Rummel. Of New York. Man of God.

I can't hear a damn...
Excuse me, please. Thank you.

- How are these people awake?
- It's a Supreme Court seat.

They had sign-painting parties the
second Justice Brady dropped dead.

Counsel sent a new list,
said burn the old list.

Listen to this:

"They cavalierly sacrifice the unborn
innocents and beckon, arms akimbo...

...the reaper, the horsemen,
the apocalyptic end."

Akimbo's a word you wish
got used more.

There's someone out there selling
"Who Would Jesus Nominate?" T-shirts.

They're in Leo's. They just started.

You want this?

- You don't like it?
- Not really.

- Sorry I'm late.
- Dem leadership's in with the president.

- They giving us more names?
- I'm sure they are.

We need a short list
by the end of the week.

Your schedule.

Your schedule. Mine.

Keep them quick,
you got three judges an hour.

Who has Austin Girelli
from Connecticut?

- Me.
- ACLU called about him.

Make sure you ask about
the migrant workers thing he wrote.

- Why isn't Haskins here?
- Having an affair with his clerk.

Toby. Dubar on line two.

Here's Bernstein.

- And this is yours.
- Senator.

Yes, senator.

No, we're not having a party
over the death of a justice.

- Well, not a big party.
- Evelyn Baker Lang?

- Fourth Circuit.
- Isn't she kind of lefty?

Decoy duck. Do it someplace
where the press can see her.

We want the left sufficiently mollified,
the right sufficiently panicked... as to inspire a little conciliation
on all flanks.

Lang should do the trick.

Put Canterbury down as
someone we won't consider.

- Lang's just with Josh?
- Toby too?

lt'll look more like
we're taking her seriously.

Toby, Evelyn Baker Lang
will be your 8:45 with Josh.

Let's go. First one to find
a Supreme Court justice...

...gets a free corned beef sandwich.

Obviously, we're impressed
with your record.

Your work on the 14th Amendment
is the stuff that dreams are made on.

But before anything else,
we wanna gauge your interest level.

- This would certainly be a lifestyle.
- We can just chat.

- I'm sorry?
- I hear you went to bat for Eric Hayden.

I wish we could have
gotten him confirmed.

- Judge Lang, if the president...
- Is he still teaching?

Eric? Yeah.

- Again...
- The conservative anchor...

...of the court has just died.
A young, brilliant thinker.

Brought the right out of the closet and
championed a whole conservative revival.

You cannot replace Brady with a woman
who overturned a parental-consent law.

You'd be shish-kebabbed and set aflame
on the South Lawn.

Two reporters have... Three reporters
have walked by since we started.

I'm window dressing. That's fine.

I'm happy to help. But let's just
chat about the weather.

That's what we're talking about.

Maybe we should put her
on the short list.

Yeah. Okay, who's next?

That's his.

- This is...
- That's a no.

Sign, please.

You wanna move it so I can see?

Not really.

- Why are we apologizing to Ashland?
- We sent him flowers.

- Condolence flowers.
- Condolences...

- For his death.
- He's alive.

- That's what he said.
- We sent flowers... the chief justice
on the occasion of his death?

- They were to go to Justice Brady.
- Get Protocol on the phone.

- They didn't...
- We did this?

It was a mistake. Ashland's 80.
He's knock-knock-knocking on...

- Who put the order in?
- Hey, guys.

You sent a funeral bouquet... the family of the living,
breathing chief justice?

No, I sent them to the guy
who died. Brady.

No. Actually, you didn't.

This is terrible. I really apologize.
You know, I'm a nightmare with details.

It's embarrassing,
the stuff leaks out of my head.

We should leave
the detail work to Donna.

I'm more of a big picture kind of guy.

She's here because she's invaluable.

You're here because your uncle's so
powerful, I can't fire you. Big picture.

Hi. Bad time?

- On my way out.
- Two minutes.

Lisa. You work for
the Judiciary Committee.

- Staff director.
- Ryan Pierce.

- We met at my uncle's.
- Excuse us.

- Is he the one that flipped the car?
- Yeah.

When do I see names for Brady's seat?

- You wanna let the body cool?
- You're meeting with Barwald, Girelli...

- Here we go.
...Evelyn Baker Lang?

- Whose acid trip is that?
- Take a breath.

The committee's not gonna let
the balance hurl to the left.

- You fill Brady's seat...
- It's not Brady's seat.

- It's not your Senate.
- We're just looking.

Girelli has a fondness for Vicodin
and Evelyn Lang is not an option.

- Save us all some time.
- We're Democrats over here.

We're not nominating a born-again hunter
with a tattoo of the Confederate flag.

Look at Arthur Lopez or Brad Shelton
or Mayra Height.

Go with Barwald or Lang, the Senate's
going to make the next year a living hell.

I say this as someone who'd be a friend,
if I looked for different things in friends.

- We should do this more often.
- As often as it takes.

We don't hate Asians. No, we don't.

Justice Huang is more valuable to us
where he is.


Thank you, sir.

Do a drive-by with Sebastian Cho,
Massachusetts Supreme.

Yeah. You were looking for me?

You hear about a delegation
to the Middle East?

- Next month.
- It was Jordan and Egypt... they wanna add Israel
and a day in the territories...

...and meet with this
shadow negotiation crew.

- State's iffy.
- They should be.

- Prime minister will go through the roof.
- Not to mention the Palestinian Authority.

I'll look into it.

Andy's leading the delegation.

- Is that gonna be a...?
- No.

- I'm on it.
- President's on his way.

What's up?

We hate Asians.


Rena. How goes it?

These are today's. Mr. Ziegler said the
president wants this before their 1:00.

Here. You can put it
in his hot little hands yourself.

This is for you, sir.

- Thank you, Lana.
- Thank you, sir.

- I hate to do this, but it's Rena, sir.
- What?

- The girl in the flowery dress.
- Just now? What'd I call her?

- Lana.
- Who's Lana?

I'm guessing an exotic dancer
from your spotty youth.

I should apologize.

You asked yesterday how
the schedule gets off the rails.

- Yeah.
- This is how.

- Good afternoon, Mr. President.
- Hey.

- We make any friends?
- Maybe Zimmerly. Shelton.

- Mehldau.
- Lang was pretty impressive.

Didn't she strike down some...?

- Parental consent for abortion.
- Not gonna happen.

- A red flag to the bull.
- It's working.

Lisa Wolfe from Judiciary Committee
showed up...

...spewing threats and admonitions.
- About Lang?

And three committee Dems called,
elated we were considering bold choices.

If the strategy's working,
get her in again.

- You liked Shelton?
- Yeah.

Moderate, insightful. Gets it.

- Let's meet him. Who else?
- Helen Waller.

Beresford Bannett, D.C. Circuit.
Ellis Yaffe. Martha Zell.

Howard Kagan out of New York,
Wilson Grandy...

- What are you doing?
- Nothing.

- What?
- She has a date.

She's getting fired.

Evelyn Lang's coming back in for
another red-herring performance, 3:00.

You don't find that annoying?

- I'll march the Times by.
- Shelton's in with the president.

- We like him.
- Yeah, we do.

"E. Bradford Shelton."

- What's the E for?
- Elijah.

- That's a burden.
- Hence the E.

I hear good things about you
from my staff. What'd they miss?

My son burned you in effigy.

- Did you watch?
- I didn't.

It was a campus demonstration against
American presence in Saudi Arabia.

There's a photo someone will dig up.

I thought it would
sound better in person.

I'm not sure it did.
Did he burn anybody else?

No. Just you.

- Well, I've missed you both.
- We appreciate this.

I keep running into Shelton
in the parking lot.

- Some say coincidence. I'm not sure.
- You've been very patient.

I don't mind, but people wonder
why the system's backed up...

...we shouldn't let them know
this is what I do.

- Well, if you were less appealing...
- Same to you, sir.

Affirmative action's gonna be back,
let's start there.

- What do I know?
- What do you think?

I don't know.

- Not the answer you were looking for.
- Not really.

Unnerving, isn't it?

Is there a topic you'd be
more comfortable with?

- Nothing comes to mind.
- Perhaps you should make something up.

I'm not trying to be cagey,
but I don't position myself on issues...

...and I don't know what I think
about a case until I hear it.

There are moderates called that
because they're not activists.

And moderates called that because
sometimes they wind up left...

...and sometimes right.

I want someone who's gonna
vote with Ashland?

You're looking for somebody who will
vote with him now and replace him later.

- That's not you?
- Wish it were.

He's a giant.

But my allegiance to
the eccentricities of a case...

...will reliably outweigh my allegiance
to any position you might wish I held.

Let's talk about what the Judiciary
Committee's concerns would be.

We can safely say reproductive rights.

They're gonna say judicial activism,
particularly in Drori.

- How would you address it?
- You're who?

- I'm sorry?
- We're playing committee.

This would be coming from one
of the 11 Republicans on there.

- Mitchell, Davies.
- Can only be one.

- We don't...
- Webster, the question is:

"Where do you stand on Roe v. Wade?"

"Rulings shouldn't be based on personal
ideology, mine or anyone else's."

If you're Davies, the question is,
"How would you approach a D&X case?"

He's the drum-banger on partial birth.

Answer is, "I don't comment
on hypotheticals."

If you're Malkin, you're from Virginia,
so you ask Drori.

I take you point by point
from the doctor to the father... Casey to undue burden
to equal protection...

...back to Roe.
You can't remember the question...

...and I drink my water for a minute
while you regroup.

Will you excuse us for a second?

I love her. I love her mind.
I love her shoes.

March her to five senators' offices...

...they'll be so scared they'll beg us
to put Shelton on the court.


You were vetted by the FBI
when you hit the federal bench...

...but if we reopened an investigation...

I'm a shill. Why would you bother
with a background check?

- Humor us.
- Anything they didn't find...

Let's see.

In high school, I snuck a copy
of Lady Chatterley's Lover...

...out of the library
and never returned it.

In college, I got a marijuana plant from
my roommate as a birthday present.

And in year two of law school,
I had an abortion.

Can I get some water
while you regroup?



I tell you this so you'd be prepared.

It might not come up,
but if it did, I wouldn't comment.

- But if they know...
- Roe v. Wade...

...affords me the right
to terminate a pregnancy.

And to do so free from all restraint
or interference of others.

- A hearing room...
- I'm told I have a right to privacy.

I think this would be
the sort of thing it's referring to.

I also bet like a drunken sailor during
my bimonthly games of hearts.

Do you wanna talk about that?

- An abortion?
- Maybe they won't find it.

- They will.
- Who's gonna bring it up?

The committee'd look like monsters.

They don't have to. Someone leaks it...'s a feeding frenzy.
- Says she can handle it.

- Oh, okay.
- Well, we need her.

Without her, we may not get Shelton.

We don't hand someone to the crowd
so they can take the heat off some guy.

- The woman is... You should hear her.
- What?

- So she is a candidate?
- She should be.

She's gonna be on posters that say:

"Wanted for the Murder
of American Children."

- Let's think about this.
- Let it go.

No, really. Nominees live or die
by Roe v. Wade.

We're playing along
with the ridiculous notion...

...that the court is a single-issue body in
a way it hasn't been since, I don't know...

- Slavery.
- Exactly.

- So she had an abortion.
- You think I like this?

Someone's gonna take it
to the press and this woman... gonna be a checkout spectacle.
Get her out.

Brad Shelton could work for us.
I like him.

So talk to him.
He's gonna start getting calls.

- Who else?
- Wisnewski.

The majority leader's really pushing him.
And Barkham, though he has a question.

A tax thing. We're looking into it.

Still having a love affair with Lang?

- No. Robert Brandt.
- How come?

She won't make it through vetting.

- Why not?
- She had an abortion.

Robert Brandt. Stan Yancy worked
with him, says he's kept his cards...

- When?
- Law school.

- Before or af...?
- After '73. It was legal.

We discarding anybody else
for legal activities?

- Not yet.
- Tonsillectomy?

- We down on surfing?
- She'd be eviscerated.

Twenty-seven million women
voted for me.

They might have had in mind
that I was going to protect this right.

"I like that guy with the good hair,
but I wanna retain my right to choose.

So I'm voting for whatshisname,
married to Abbey Bartlet."

They're gonna make this
about objectivity.

We promised the committee a list
by Friday. I want her on it.


- Thank you, sir.
- Thank you, Mr. President.

- That pisses me off.
- Apparently.

We marched her around here all week.

A place on the short list
is the least we could do.

We're still going with Brad Shelton?

Filling a seat on the Supremes.
Heady stuff.

- Don't call them that.
- My uncle does.

So does the minority leader.
So does Henry Clark. You know him?

You drop one more name,
I'm gonna staple your mouth shut.

Be hell to pay at Agincourt.
I've offended the dauphin.

Lisa Wolfe called twice.

Senator Webster called regarding Lang,
"What could you be thinking?"

Senator Millbank, regarding Lang,
"No, no, no, no, no."

McNull, "Not a snowball's chance in..."
Oh, that's about the highways bill.

- I need a drink.
- Sun's not over the yardarm.

- C.J.'s right.
- Usually. Want a Black-eyed Susan?

- Is it a drink?
- Cookie. My mom sent them.

No. Yes.

Peanut butter with a chocolate kiss.

- They're cat people?
- No, they're not.

- These theirs?
- Shadrach and Meshach.

Two cats. Cat people.

For years, they only had one,
but he died over Christmas.

- This is a dry cookie.
- After an appropriate mourning period...

...they got a new one. My mother liked
the Abyssinian, my father the gray...

...and after 39 years of marriage they've
outgrown compromise, so they got both.

That doesn't make them cat people.
The house doesn't smell.

Do I have crumbs?

They pick one. They pick one.

That's how we get Evie Lang. And not
as a decoy, we put her on the court.

- Hi.
- The chief justice wouldn't step down...

...because we couldn't fill his seat
with another liberal lion.

She's the liberal lion. Ashland resigns,
she takes his seat, okay...

...and we offer the Republicans...

...the opportunity to handpick
a conservative for Brady's seat.

We put them both up.

- I'm ordering mu shu, want some?
- Listen to me.

- No.
- I'm serious.

We have what,
if we hand the Republicans...

...a Supreme Court seat
with a bow on top?

We have a balanced court.

They can't let Brady's seat go,
so let them keep it.

We name the first female chief justice
of the Supreme Court in history.

- I'm taking it to the president.
- No, you're not.

- Do not go in there.
- Trip him.

Ashland is 82.
We may have an opportunity... put two people on this bench.

- That's two seats filled with Democrats.
- Moderates.

Who cares how moderate they are?
Two is twice as many as one.

- Can I get in?
- We don't need him.

Not moderate, mediocre.

- Shelton's not bright?
- I want more.

If we had a bench of moderates in '54,
"separate but equal" would still exist.

We'd have two drinking fountains.

Moderate means temperate,
it means responsible, thoughtful.

It means cautious,
it means unimaginative.

It means being more concerned about
making decisions than making history.

Is that a tragedy, that we nominated
somebody who made an impression...

...instead of some crowd pleaser?

The ability to see two sides is not
the hallmark of an inferior intellect.

What about the vast arenas a moderate
won't even address? A mind like Lang's?

Let them pick a conservative
with a mind like Brady.

You can hate his positions,
but he was a visionary.

He blew the whole thing open.
He changed the whole argument...

The president will see you now.

And you?

They're gonna pick a young,
spry conservative ideologue...

...who's gonna camp
in that seat for years.

Fine. Two voices articulating the debate
at either end of the spectrum.

Filling another seat on the court may be
the only lasting thing I do in this office.

Shelton's a great choice,
he'll make us proud.

If Ashland resigns in a year,
we got a stack of great options.

We can't give it away.

Mr. President...

...the first woman in that chair.

We go out on some limb here
and alienate the Senate...

...they'll tread water for three years
and we get nobody.

The next guy gets to fill Brady's seat.

Take it to Ashland. See what he says.

How'd you come up with it?

- What?
- The swap-a-dee-doo.

There was...

Donna's mom...

I thought it up in the shower.

- Who let them in?
- Sorry to disturb you, sir.

Carrier pigeons.

Oh, your flowers. Yeah, we like them.

I'm dreadfully sorry about that.

Oh, for God's sake,
let us sit upon the ground...

...and tell sad stories
of the death of kings.

Brady was your age.

Eat your greens.

- He was a great man.
- He was a selfish bastard.

You told the president you hoped
to be replaced by a liberal...

...with the same level of conviction
that you brought.

That sounds like something I'd say.

Sir, are you familiar
with Evelyn Baker Lang?

Miss Lang.

- You've met with her?
- Yes, sir.

How are you gonna get it
past the pit bulls?

They're not gonna like the notion
of Miss Lang in Owen Brady's seat.

For your seat.

If... If you were to resign,
she'd be chief.

My seat.

- What about Brady's?
- We'd allow the Judiciary Committee... choose someone.
A conservative.

Would you consider stepping down
under those circumstances?


- We think it might be a viable option.
- Go ahead.

See who they pick
of their favorite sons.

See what segregationist,

...Isaiah-quoting, gay-bashing bastard
they come up with.

Jed Bartlet from New Hampshire
had an idea.

Oh, Jed...

No, I cut this because what he's
implying is illegal. Take it back out.

Three times.
In some cultures, we'd be married.

- Chilling.
- Is it Shelton?

- He's the frontrunner.
- Good.

- We done?
- Mind if I shut the door?


- How you doing?
- Super.

- Feeling good?
- Got a meeting.

I'm gonna float an idea here that
even I can't believe I'm mentioning...

...and my colleagues definitely
can't believe I'm mentioning...

...and the president would prefer
I drop completely.

And if I find it in The Washington Post
tomorrow morning...

...I'll march to the press
and tell them it came from you.

It'll embarrass the crap out of your boss,
you'll be on HotJobs by nightfall.

- There's someone in my office.
- I thought it was your ex-wife.

You didn't wanna
warn me about that?

You asked her to come in.

She's cute.

Our eyes will meet over
the Maritime Commission report...

...we'll go to a justice of the peace.

You wanna talk about this
dog-and-pony show in Gaza?

Not really. Bradford Shelton.

He's on the list.

You're not going to Gaza.

- I don't wanna talk...
- You're not attending talks...

...with Israelis and Palestinians who
don't work for those governments.

- They may generate ideas.
- The ideas already exist.

The problem is sticking to the plan.

- So we sit with our hands folded?
- We ask them for democracy.

We should maintain some respect for the
guys who were democratically elected.

If you're interested in peace,
you negotiate with anyone.

You negotiate with the mailman.

The mailman can't deliver.

- We'll see.
- No, we won't see.

You're jeopardizing relationships with
the Likud and the Palestinian Authority.

And it is not an option.

Is that all?
There's no "What about the kids?"

Did something happen?

I'm going away for two weeks.

- Will they be...?
- At my mother's.

- Good.
- Would you have asked?

- I figured your mother's...
- You wanna be involved.

It doesn't come with an invitation.
You involve yourself or you don't.

The president would like to remind you
this is a fact-finding mission.

Please make it clear...

...that you are not empowered
to negotiate for the United States.

She in there?

Hang on. She's getting off.

The phone.

- You want Josh?
- Lord knows I do.

Josh Lyman, as I live and breathe.

You want a cookie?
They're from Donna's mother.

I spoke to Lisa Wolfe.

- What'd she say?
- I don't wanna talk about it.

I'm hiding from Toby.


Nothing. You're hiding, it's funny.

It's not funny.

- Hey.
- See, it is.

- I gotta go.
- What's going on?

C.J. has the giggles.

It's your deal. I find it elating.

- She stoned?
- I'm fine. I didn't get enough sleep.

- You were with Ranger Rick.
- Josh spoke to Lisa Wolfe.

- She give you a name?
- Faithless wench.

- What's the name?
- Christopher Mulready.

Wait for it.

- Christopher Mulready?
- There it is.

America 's Democrats:
The Triumph of Socialism.

He wrote a book that flushes...

...the doctrine of unenumerated rights
down the...

- Toilet.
- Garbage disposal.

No right to use a condom.
No right to get an abortion, certainly.

No protection from electronic searches,
no substantive due process.

He's what, 48?
The left's gonna blow a gasket.

- No separation of church and state.
- We got problems.

Kogan, Howard can't vote Mulready.
Constituencies too moderate.

- Get another name.
- That is it.

This is the deal!
He's what Evelyn Lang is to them.

We nominate the patron saint of
a woman's right to choose for chief...

...we ask them to ignore an incredibly
rich piece of her personal history...

...we take the name they give us.

This isn't gonna work.


It isn't.


If we were gonna try this,
what would be the plan?

We give the president
and Leo the name.

We bring Christopher Mulready in,
we bring Lang back in.

They woo the pants off the president
and he agrees to the deal...

...without noticing he's standing
in the gaze of history, pantless.

- I'll talk to him.
- You don't have to.

It sounds more plausible from me. What
are you gonna do about the committee?

- Lisa will take it to the chairman.
- I mean the Democrats.

Get Senator Pierce onboard or nobody.
What are you gonna do about Pierce?

- Shut up.
- I thought you were firing him.

If wishing made it so.


Send in Elvis.

- What's up?
- Come on in. Take a load off.

I was a little brusque with you before.
I'm sorry about that.

- Okay.
- Your feelings a little hurt?

- Not at all.
- Really? Why not?

Would that make this easier?

- I said I would fire you if it wasn't for...
- Are you firing me?


Then there's a sticks-and-stones thing
that comes to mind.

Finishing a call. I spoke to Andy.

- Anything?
- No.

National Security Caucus is sponsoring
the delegation. Talk to them.

We'll deal with it next week.
Don't worry about it.

- We got a name for Brady's seat.
- Somebody workable?

- You can go in now.
- Thank you.


- No! Are you out of your bloody mind?!
- Sit down and talk with him...

The last time I heard his name... was in conjunction with a treatise
on the rights of corporations... an econo-hostile world and some
sort of baloney about the stranglehold...

...the EPA has placed
on the endangered species.

- Ryan here yet?
- Not yet.

- Chris Mulready?
- Yeah.

Dissented on minority set-asides.
Struck down hate crime legislation.

- Feeling pretty good about that?
- It's not a perfect plan.

The president says he's not spending
much time with this clown.

The pressroom is clear, but keep
an eye out for roving reporters.

You in on this too?

We got Lang coming in to meet
the president at 7. Mulready's at 8.

We need a clear shot from
the Roosevelt Room to the Oval.

- He's on the short list?
- We may get both.

You're putting my mom's cats
on the Supreme Court.

- You're what?
- It's just an experiment. She's on sentry.

- Hi.
- Don't ever tell anyone that story.

- We all set?
- Lefty's got the goods.

Rocko got the call.
Stinky's on lookout.

- Shall we?
- Uncle's here?

Knock them dead.

- Pierce will never buy it, will he?
- Nope.

Remember, he's all bark.
Let him holler, wear himself out.

He's got the strength, you've got
the endurance. Here. Use it wisely.

And don't try to keep up,
you're way out of your league.

Not necessary. Thank you.

- Good to see you, Josh.
- Senator Pierce, thanks for stopping in.

- Josh was impressed with your speech...
- Josh can kiss up all on his own.

- Get back to work.
- Yell if you need anything.

- My nephew behaving?
- He's a treat.

He better be. Bugged me for two years
to get him a job in this place.

- Really?
- Watch yourself. He's the hungry type.

- Have someone taste your food.
- Ryan?

Craziest rumor ever
running around the committee.

- Oh, yeah?
- Charlie Felson says... want Mulready
on the Supreme Court.

I said anybody who tries is gonna find
himself in a closed session with myself...

...the minority leader and
the business end of a two-by-four.

You know, we got a 21 -year-old
Glenlivet knocking around here.

Can I get you a drink?

- Lang still in there?
- Oh, she's a big hit.

She has to leave.
Her evil twin Skippy's on his way.

I did our secret wrap-it-up sign, which is
I knock and say the deputy NSA...

...needs to talk about Japan. He said,
"You talk to him, you've been there."

True, but makes me think
he's forgotten.

How about "Excuse me,
we need to move on."

If you want the job,
work on your typing.


- He's running behind schedule.
- I imagine that happens.

- You wanna tell me what I'm doing here?
- Oh, just a hello.

I'm not being impeached?

- No.
- This isn't a not particularly subtle...

...form of intimidation about
the gays-in-the-workplace case?

- That would be illegal.
- My point exactly.

The president will explain.

Any minute now.

But since you mention it,
I read your article on Bellington.

And I may be out on the fringe here...

...but I don't see how a family-values
conservative justifies...

...denying committed couples access to
benefits of state-sanctioned monogamy.

- Homosexual couples.
- Couples.

A couple's a couple.

- Howdy.
- How was Ryan's uncle?

He's a blast. Come meet him.

He's still here?
Oh, my God, you're drunk.

I think I just promised him a pork-barrel
roads project on a bill that doesn't exist.

Don't try and keep up. He's got
a wooden... Hollow leg. He drinks a lot.

- It's an equal-protection violation.
- Homosexuals aren't a suspect class.

DOMA denies access to over
1000 federal protections.

- To what?
- Survivor benefits under Social Security.

To $255? I'll write you a check.

- Hospital decision-making.
- Power of attorney, not marriage.

DOMA doesn't restrict
access to marriage.

Of course it does.
It restricts full faith and credit.

So Vermont gets to steer
nationwide marriage legislation?

- Vermont?
- Well, this is a sight to see.

One of the more unlikely meetings
in the history of the Bartlet White House.

- It's good to see you, Evie.
- You too, Chris.

I came to say goodbye.
I wish I had a camera.

He was trying to convince me
the Defense of Marriage Act... unconstitutional.

- DOMA. He was trying to convince you?
- Yeah.

- What?
- He doesn't need convincing.

- Well, I wasn't doing a good...
- He would never uphold DOMA.

He might not love the idea
of gay marriage...

...but he hates
congressional overreaching...

...and Congress can't
legislate marriage.

- The issue isn't privacy.
- Or equal protection.

It's enumerated powers.

He'll have an easier time
knocking down DOMA than I will.

Lack of imagination on your part,
if I may be so bold.

- You were yanking my chain?
- I'm meeting with...

...a Democratic president in the middle
of the night. You're gonna give me crap?

Josh Lyman is gesticulating wildly.

Excuse me.

- Where's the senator?
- He's with C.J. He got me a little drunk.

Is he leaving?

I think he's getting C.J. a little drunk.
How's it going?

He's striking down gay marriage bans,
she's defending him.

- And he's a fan of chain-yanking.
- She's defending him?

Up is down, down is up.

I am not.
No, I am not rewriting Article I.

- I am saying that a gun-free school zone...
- Is not a federal issue. In Lopez...

- Lopez overturned 50 years of precedent.
- They ruled a plain-text reading...

...does not afford Congress...

A plain-text reading of
the Constitution values a Negro... three-fifths of a man.

Hence the 13th, 14th
and 15th Amendments.

Oh, generous. Thank you.

The relationship between guns in schools
and interstate commerce is beyond...

You don't think the quality of education
has a direct effect on the economic...?

- Is he...?
- Waiting to meet a man... have hostage
in the Roosevelt Room.

Okay. Okay, everyone needs to put
down their glasses and pay attention.

- You like him?
- I hate him.

I hate him. But he's brilliant.

And the two of them together
are fighting like cats and dogs...

...but it works.

You couldn't find a single warm-blooded
centrist to put on the court?

We've got six of them. Plus two staunch
conservatives, plus Justice Ashland...

...the one clarion voice articulating
a liberal vision.

He's gonna go, and then what?

- Well, send him in.
- Sir...

I said I'd listen to him, Toby.
That's gonna have to do.

- Toby.
- What?

Nothing's happening.

- That's him?
- Yeah.

No tail, no cloven hooves?

Judge Mulready.

- Thanks for coming in.
- It's an honor, sir.


I understand that you and Judge Lang
had a bit of a knockdown-dragout.

She wants to federalize
law enforcement.

- I thought it was hasty.
- Not your brand of judge.

The opposite. I haven't had
that much fun in months.

- Really?
- Use her if you can.

I'm not sure what all this is about.
I suppose a number of people...

...are placated by a glimpse of someone
like her or like me in these halls.

I'm most certainly here for that.

- lf there's any way you can use her...
- It's unlikely.

Who's at the top of the list?

If I leaked it, would they believe me?

Brad Shelton.

- Really.
- You don't like him.

He's a fine jurist.

And if Carmine, Lafayette, Hoyt,
Clark and Brannaghan all drop dead...

...the center will still be well tended.

- You want another Brady.
- Sure.

Just like you'd like another Ashland.

The court was at its best
when they were fighting.

Plenty of good law written
by the voices of moderation.

Who writes the extraordinary dissent?

The one-man minority opinion whose
time hasn't come, but 20 years later...

...some circuit-court clerk digs it up
at 3 in the morning.

Brennan railing against censorship.

- Harlan's jeremiad on Jim Crow.
- Maybe you, someday.

They can't put me on the court.

Just like you can't put Evelyn Lang
on the court.

It's Sheltons from here on in.

There are 4000 protesters
outside this building...

...worried about who's going to
land in that seat.

We can't afford to alienate all of them.

We all have our roles to play, sir.

Yours is to nominate someone
who doesn't alienate people.

- Where's Toby?
- Can you see this?

- Yeah.
- It's water, it will dry.

- Okay.
- You ready?

Chief Justice Roy Ashland, having served
32 years on the Supreme Court...

... 12 of them as chief, will announce
his retirement in just a moment.

Henry Staub retired,
and I received a phone call.

You were probably learning to walk.

It's been an honor to pause in Henry
Staub 's chair, a joy to spend these...

He'll take three questions at the most,
and then we're off.

You ready?

That's a yes.

So why a racial preference
and not an economic one?

Affirmative action's about a legacy
of racial oppression.

- It's about compromising standards.
- Bull. Excuse me.

It's about leveling the field...

This is where the liberal argument goes
off the rails. You get stuck in the past.

Now, you wanna come back at me with:
"Grading is based on past performance.

But admission should be based on
potential, on how a candidate may thrive.

And studies show affirmative-action
admits have a higher predisposition... contribute to society."

Hang on. I gotta write this down.

I'm deeply saddened as I give up
the daily affair of...

Hand it over.

Toby has a daughter, Molly,
10 months old.

She's a looker, and very bright.

And someday he'd like to give her
this copy of the 14th Amendment...

...signed by the first woman
to ever hold this job.

Have you got a...?

- Would you mind adding that title?
- Well, that's a bit premature, isn't it?


Thank you.

Mr. President.

Shall we?

Ladies and gentlemen,
the president of the United States.

The Honorable Christopher Mulready...

...nominee for associate justice,
United States Supreme Court.

The Honorable Evelyn Baker Lang...

...nominee for chief justice,
United States Supreme Court.

I look forward to
taking your questions.