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Original Airdate 11-24-99 Rerun 03-29-00 and 07-11-01

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Just before Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is ready to name a Supreme Court nominee, he considers another possible candidate. Meanwhile, there are accusations of drug use among the staff.
From NBC:
When a Supreme Court justice retires, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) has a golden opportunity to impact the court's composition by nominating a favorite judge (Ken Howard) -- but when further study reveals the candidate's conflicting ideology, the President might change his mind and opt for another judge. In addition, a headline seeking congressman (Holmes Osborne) on the House Government Oversight Committee accuses the White House staff of substance abuse -- a dicey issue for one important member.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Moira Kelly as Mandy (Madeline) Hampton Public Relations Consultant
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Guest Starring    
Timothy Busfield as Danny (Daniel) Concannon (Washington Post) Reporter
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Holmes Osborne as Peter Lillienfield Congressman
Special Guest Stars    
Mason Adams as Joseph Crouch Retiring Supreme Court Justice
Ken Howard as Peyton Cabot Harrison III  
and Special Appearence By
Edward James Olmos as
Mendoza Justice Roberto
Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Landingham President's Secretary /
Delores (first name)
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Diana Morgan as Reporter #1 Jesse
Charles Noland as Reporter #2 Steve
Kris Narmont as Reporter #3 "Chris" / Katie Witt

Information Links


Media Quotes

"I knew that I wanted the...story to start with 'Fantastic, everything's great, we got Mario Cuomo,'" Sorkin recalls. "And to end with 'It's a whole different guy.'

"In other words," Sorkin continues, "we're gonna have to discover a problem with our home-run candidate. I didn't want it to be scandalous at all. I didn't want it to be a nanny. I didn't want it to be sex like with Clarence Thomas. I didn't want this guy to have done anything wrong except that I was intrigued by [Robert] Bork and those who agree with Bork that the Constitution does not provide for a right of privacy, that the right simply doesn't exist. Not so much because of Bork's contention that Roe v. Wade was based on faulty legal thinking but more because I think privacy is huge."

Sorkin also knew he wanted the action to take place over just a couple of days. "The more you compress time, the more the heat goes up," he explains. "I was taught that you want to start your stories as close to the end as possible."

Sorkin continues, "I'll sit with Pat, Dee Dee, and Lawrence, and I'll say, 'Write me something about this; write me something about how that would work.'" O'Donnell supplied the résumé of the perfect candidate. Caddell researched the privacy arguments. Sorkin asked Myers for ideas on what might undo someone who seemed like the perfect candidate. She came back with the notion of an unsigned "note" (a long scholarly article) the candidate wrote as a young man on the Harvard Law Review that casts doubt on his commitment to privacy rights.

"The Real White House"
by Matthew Miller
March 2000
Brill's Content

Apparently James Olmos heard that they were going to have the White House name a Hispanic to the Supreme Court and begged to let him play the part. "At that point the character was only to appear in that one episode, we never said "'there's more for you down the road,' and that he literally only had about 4 lines, one of which was "'Thank you, Mr. President,' but he didn't care." Then they wrote Celestial Navigation.

Posted at
by Jenn
September 26, 2000
Message 6797
Notes from the Harvard Law School Forum with Aaron Sorkin

Hail to the cheap? NBC's hit West Wing is miserly with its guest stars, says Oscar nominee Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver)

Olmos, in town last week for PBS's annual meeting, says he was asked to work for scale - about $4,500 per episode - when he did two guests shots as Supreme Court nominee Judge Roberto Mendoza in the '99-2000 season.

"West Wing complained when they had to pay me," says Olmos, who stars in the forthcoming PBS drama American Family. "They felt they had a top show, and wouldn't everybody want to do it for nothing?

"I said: 'No, I don't do anything for commercial television for nothing. You don't need the help!' I'm a little too expensive for them. You can't ask major talent to come on board without being able to support themselves."

NBC referred calls to West Wing producer Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros. had no comment, but sources close to West Wing say Olmos received "well above scale" for his work.

Ironically, perpetually cash- strapped PBS is giving Olmos his "normal fee" for Family, originally developed for CBS by filmmaker Gregory Nava (Selena)

"PBS came in strong," says Olmos, 54, who's married to Sopranos shrink Lorraine Bracco. "Obviously, they appreciate my work and my talent, and they're paying me for it."

"PBS pays up more readily than 'West Wing' for Olmos"
by Gail Shister
June 19, 2001
Philadelphia Inquirer

The West Wing's [John] Spencer, sipping on club soda, refers to the parallels between his early alcohol problems and those scripted for White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry. "It was weird. I really wasn't acting."

"Pitch and catch"
by Dusty Saunders
January 24, 2004
Rocky Mountain News

Co-producer Lawrence O'Don-nell Jr., who came to the show with a political background, knew enough about TV to figure the series had as much chance as a Gary Coleman gubernatorial campaign.

"I was absolutely convinced that it didn't have a chance. No chance," he said. "As far I could tell, in TV terms, nothing happened. It was a bunch of guys in neckties and some nicely dressed women who were arguing and nothing happened."

"I was guaranteed 13 episodes of employment and my lifetime budget was based on that at the time."

"'The West Wing' turned dark horse into a champion"
by Neal Justin
April 21, 2006
Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune

"I thought this show didn't have a chance because I really liked it, and I don't usually like TV," [Lawrence] O'Donnell said recently.

"Sun sets on 'West Wing'"
by Aaron Barnhart
May 14, 2006
Kansas City Star

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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