❝ In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising... ❞

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Toby Ziegler

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the Judicial Branch of the United States, and leads the federal judiciary. It consists of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and eight Associate Justices, who are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed with the advice and consent Senate. Once appointed, Justices effectively have life tenure. The Supreme Court is sometimes informally referred to as the High Court, or by the acronym SCOTUS.


  • Chief Justice Roy Ashland Milo O'Shea: Aging liberal Chief Justice who resigned in 2004 and replaced by Evelyn Baker Lang, the first woman Chief Justice. Ashland joined the Supreme Court in 1972, and became Chief Justice in 1992, though in 2003 it was stated that he had faced six administrations and "22 congresses" (meaning he may have served for 44 years). Born in 1922.
  • Chief Justice Evelyn Baker LangGlenn Close (Season 5): Replaced Roy Ashland, who resigned in 2004. First woman Chief Justice. A liberal appointed by President Bartlet in a deal with Senate Republicans where they got to fill the seat of the deceased Owen Brady with a conservative, Christopher Mulready. The role was performed by Ann Ryerson at President Santos' Inauguration (Ep. 7.22).
  • Justice Roberto MendozaEdward James Olmos (Ep. 1.9; 1.15): Controversial nominee appointed by President Bartlet to replace the liberal Justice Joseph Crouch, who was not fond of the President. Considered a liberal at the time of his appointment and still considered as such by Justice Mulready years later, though Josh (perhaps erroneously) lists him as one of the "centrists" (Ep. 5.17)
  • Justice Christopher MulreadyWilliam Fichtner: 48-year-old Conservative judge appointed by President Bartlet to replace the late conservative justice, Owen Brady. Was appointed in a deal with Senate Republicans that allowed Evelyn Baker Lang to be Chief Justice (Ep. 5.17)
  • Justice Joseph CrouchMason Adams (Ep. 1.9): Aging liberal justice who retired in November 1999 and was replaced by Roberto Mendoza. Did not like President Bartlet. He began serving the year Bartlet entered college and served on the bench for 38 years, meaning he joined in 1961.
  • Justice Owen Brady: Young conservative who died suddenly in 2004 at age 52 of a heart attack. He was described by both liberals and conservatives as a "young, brilliant mind." Replaced by Christopher Mulready, who described the Court as being at its best when "Brady was fighting Ashland." (Ep. 5.16 & 5.17)
  • Justice Brannigan. Considered a centrist. (5.17)
  • Justice Carmine. Considered a centrist. (5.17)
  • Justice Henry Clark. Considered a centrist. (5.17)
  • Justice Dreifort: Conservative justice who had Ainsley Hayes as a clerk. White House Counsel Lionel Tribbey describes him as "an idiot" who is "intolerant toward gays, lesbians, blacks, unions, women, poor people, and the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments." (Ep. 2.5)
  • Justice Hoyt. Considered a centrist. (5.17)
  • Justice Lafayette. Considered a centrist. (5.17)
  • Justice Sharon Day:  Administered the oath of office to Speaker of the House, Glen Allen Walken, after President Bartlet invoked the 25th Amendment during the Zoey Bartlet kidnapping crisis.

Composition of the Court

As of 1999

  • Chief Justice Roy Ashland
  • Justice Owen Brady
  • Justice Brannigan
  • Justice Carmine
  • Justice Clark
  • Justice Joseph Crouch
  • Justice Dreifort
  • Justice Hoyt
  • Justice LaFayette

As of 2000

  • Justice Brannigan
  • Justice Carmine
  • Justice Clark
  • Justice Dreifort
  • Justice Hoyt
  • Justice LaFayette 

As of 2004

  • Justice Brannigan
  • Justice Carmine
  • Justice Clark
  • Justice Dreifort
  • Justice Hoyt
  • Justice LaFayette


Based on a comment by Donna Moss in Episode 5.16, it's known that two of the Supreme Court justices were women, with Lang's appointment in 5.17 increasing this to three.  In the final episode of Season 4, Speaker of the House Glen Allen Walken is sworn in as Acting President by a female jurist.  Charlie Young announces her as "Justice Sharon Day."  It is not known if she is an actual member of the Court, or an oversite on the show.

Known Jurists

  • Peyton Cabot Harrison III: His father was Eisenhower's Attorney General. A life-long Democrat, he clerked for Republican Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger and served as dean of the Harvard Law School. The first choice to fill Crouch's seat on the Supreme Court, he was ultimately rebuffed by Bartlet after expressing questionable views on the right to privacy.
  • Ed Harrison
  • Eric Hayden: Nominee to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • E. Bradford Shelton — Robert Picardo: Considered for nomination to the Supreme Court. Shelton is a moderate judge because he refuses to position himself on issues, preferring to decide each case on the merits. His son once burned President Bartlet in effigy to protest military action in Saudi Arabia.

Current Members

Former Members

  • Chief Justice Roy Ashland (1972-2004)
  • Chief Justice Henry Staub (1986-1992)
  • Chief Justice Warren Burger (1969-1986)
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren (1953-1969)
  • Justice Owen Brady (died 2004)
  • Justice Sharon Day (presumably left office prior to Bartlet's first term, but swore in Glen Allen Walken)
  • Justice Joseph Crouch (1961-1999)
  • Justice William Brennan (1956-1990)
  • Justice John Marshall Harlan (1877-1911)
  • Justice Henry Blackmun (1970-1994)
  • Justice Potter Stewart (1957-1981)
  • Justice Louis Brandeis (1916-1939)
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