Elijah Bradford Shelton, formally known as E. Bradford Shelton or commonly as Brad Shelton, is a jurist who was briefly a favourite to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court opened by the unexpected death of Justice Owen Brady.
Shelton is a moderate. In his interview with the president, he expressed no opinions on issues and stated that his views were entirely dependent on the details of each case, thus he "sometimes winds up on the left, sometimes on the right". This approach contrasted with Brady's, who was a noted conservative on the bench. The Republican Senate desired another conservative to fill Brady's shoes. The President desired a liberal justice to eventually supplant the aging liberal Chief Justice Roy Ashland. The common wisdom was that the Senate and the President would have no choice but to compromise on a moderate like Shelton.
Bartlet considered Shelton the obvious choice for the Supreme Court until Josh Lyman concocted a plan to simultaneously appoint two non-moderate justices as an alternative compromise. Conservative Christopher Mulready was appointed to replace conservative Associate Justice Owen Brady; liberal Evelyn Baker Lang was appointed to replace liberal Chief Justice Roy Ashland, who finally decided to retire because he felt that Bartlet had found a worthy successor.
Behind the scenes
- Shelton appears only in "The Supremes". There were no additional Supreme Court appointments during Bartlet's administration.