Our West Wing, Best Wing episode this week was a topical one, with the recent appointment of Judge Merrick Garland. This episode also marked the first week that we used a new app to record, and as Molly stated "it sounds like we're hiking" so set your techpectations low.
This episode, we discussed what happens when a president nominates a candidate to the Supreme Court, and why the Bartlet nomination looks different than the Obama nomination. And boy, are there some big differences.
The similarity is, obviously, that both are nominating a new justice to the court. The president has the power to nominate judges under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. But the President can't do it alone. Judges are subject to the "advice and consent of the Senate, which today means that a majority of Senators have to vote in favor of the judge's confirmation.
That's where Fake President Bartlet diverges from Real President Obama. Fake President Bartlet is counting on an easy confirmation for his judge, and it's looking more and more unlikely that Real President Obama's nominee will receive hearings at all. This is all discussed more in depth in a previous post.
Laying current politics aside, the most surprising thing we learned while researching for this episode was that there are no actual constitutional requirements for the Supreme Court justice. Technically, you don't have to be a citizen or even a lawyer to sit on the Supreme Court. However, every Supreme Court justice in history has been trained in the law. In fact, every judge that sits on the current court went to either Harvard or Yale law school, all are either Catholic or Jewish, and all but one are from "coastal states."
Merrick Garland is no different. He went to Harvard and is Jewish, though he was raised in the middle of the country. And much like the fictional judge, Peyton Harrison III (by the way, the WASPiest name ever. That name for sure owns a yacht) Merrick Garland has never written an opinion on abortion.
But that's where the similarities between these situations end, and to hear more about our thoughts on that, as well as who I think the nominee should have been, listen to this week's episode. Or catch up on past episodes here, and follow us on Twitter for up to the minute information (and by information, I mean "links we find interesting").
And finally, on a somber note. Ken Howard has a guest appearance in this episode as Judge Peyton Harrison III (human boat shoe). Ken Howard is best known in our generation for playing the CEO of Kabletown on 30 Rock, and also known for playing Jefferson in the movie version of 1776. He passed away last week, and will be missed.