The West Wing: Season 5, Episode 17

The Supremes (24 Mar. 2004)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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A Supreme Court Justice dies, forcing the administration's hand on picking a desirable replacement who can be confirmed by a hostile Congress.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Senator Roland Pierce


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. Written by Murray Chapman

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supreme court justice | See All (1) »







Release Date:

24 March 2004 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final acting role of Milo O'Shea. See more »


The characters state that there is no liberal on the court. In the first season Bartlett put Justice Mendoza on the bench, who was quite liberal. If for some reason Mendoza had left the bench, Bartlett would have appointed another liberal, so no matter what there would have been a democrat on the bench. See more »


Chief Justice Evelyn Baker Lang: [Reviewing how she'd respond to a Senate question during a confirmation hearing] If you're Webster the question is "Where do you stand on Roe v. Wade?" and the answer is "judicial rulings shouldn't be based on personal ideology, mine or anyone else's." If you're Davies, the question is "How would approach a D&X case," because he's the drum banger on partial birth. And the answer is "I don't comment on hypotheticals." If you're Malkin, you're from Virginia, so you ask a de jure. I take you ...
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Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.196 (2006) See more »


West Wing Main Title
Written by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony
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User Reviews

Brilliant episode
24 March 2007 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

This episode leaves me with a good feeling. I have to admit that I had misty eyes all through the last half hour. And its difficult to claim that "West Wing" usually does that to the viewers.

The reason for my joy for this episode is two-folded. First of all there is Glenn Close, perfectly casted as a liberal judge. Second there is the message, that the gloomy impression of a Left and Right in USA, unable to communicate, is not true.

The beauty lies in the compromise that does not look like the usual compromise. Instead of victory for the mediocre, we see a victory of the genius.

This episode is also the last high peak before the series finally loses its momentum.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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