The Supremes (The West Wing)

The Supremes (The West Wing)

Infobox Television episode
Title = The Supremes
Series = The West Wing

Caption =
Season = 5
Episode = 105
Airdate = March 242004
Production = 176067
Writer = Debora Cahn
Director = Jessica Yu
Guests = Glenn Close
Jesse Bradford
William Fichtner
Lily Tomlin
Mitchell Ryan
Milo O'Shea
Melissa Marsala
Kathleen York
Deirdre Lovejoy
Robert Picardo
NiCole Robinson
Episode list = List of "The West Wing" episodes
Season list = Infobox The West Wing season 5 episode list
Prev =
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"The Supremes" is episode 105 of "The West Wing" and the 17th of the fifth season. The episode centers on the appointment of a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


Owen Brady, the conservative anchor of the Supreme Court has died. Evelyn Baker Lang (Glenn Close), a federal judge, is brought in by the West Wing to appease the left and frighten the right and hence make confirmation of their real choice, moderate Judge Brad Shelton (Robert Picardo), easier. At her meeting with Josh and Toby her awareness of the political realities of the situation impresses them both, however she is still considered an impossible choice. Due to the success of the strategy she is asked in again – Democrats are elated the White House is considering "bold choices" and the Republican staff director of the Judiciary Committee Lisa Wolfe issues "threats and admonitions".

Although still a "red herring", Baker Lang is asked by Josh and Toby to discuss the potential concerns the Judiciary Committee would have during a confirmation hearing. She again shows remarkable awareness of the political issues involved, describing in detail how she would answer the varying reproductive rights concerns of each Republican member of the committee. After further discussion Baker Lang reveals she had an abortion in law school. Due to the height of public concern over the nomination, CJ argues Baker Lang cannot be used as a decoy for Shelton; "you keep this up, someone's going to take it to the press and this bright woman is going to be a checkout counter spectacle. Get her out of the building." When discussing the short list with the President he reacts angrily to the fact that Baker Lang has been removed due to "legal activity" and demands her name be reinstated.

Following the meeting, Donna relates an anecdote about her parents' cats that inspires Josh to find a controversial but brilliant solution; the White House will ask ailing Chief Justice Roy Ashland (Milo O'Shea) to resign to be replaced by Baker Lang. In return for her confirmation they will give Republicans the opportunity to name a conservative to replace Brady. Josh's argument is based on the belief that the court would be better served by the maintenance of the status quo (a staunch liberal chief justice and a staunch conservative associate justice) rather than the nomination of a moderate. The President instructs Josh and Toby to take the plan to the Chief Justice, who agrees. The Republicans name Christopher Mulready (William Fichtner) as their choice for the seat. Despite his apparent extreme views Josh and Toby invite Baker Lang and Mulready in to speak with the President. In a chance meeting Toby witnesses how Baker Lang's and Mulready's arguing "works."

External links

* [ The West Wing Episode Guide]

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