Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fourteen Days Of The West Wing - Day 5 (ish)

Sam Seaborn is the former Deputy Communications Director. He was educated at Princeton, where he graduated magnum cum laude, and Duke Law School where he was editor of the Law Review. He is one of Josh Lyman's best friends and it was Josh who brought him out of the corporate world and into the Bartlet campaign. Sam worked with Toby in crafting the President's message and they were the President's lead speech writers. Sam also used his legal knowledge on more than one occasion. He eventually left the administration to run unsuccessfully for Congress, and although there was apparently a job in the administration available for him, he seems to have returned to the private sector before being being persuaded by Josh (in a scene that very much resembled the way he was recruited the first time as shown in In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen) to be Deputy Chief of Staff for the Santos Administration. In the following sequence Sam is grilling Peyton Cabot Harrison III (played by Ken Howard), who has been nominated for the Supreme Court. Evidence has come forward that Harrison is a strict Constitutional constructionist who denies the ability of the courts to rule on anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution including the right of privacy.

Sam:
In 1787, there was a sizable block of delegates who were initially opposed to the Bill of Rights. One member of the Georgia delegation had to stay by way of opposition: 'If we list the set of rights, some fools in the future are going to claim that people are entitled only to those rights enumerated and no longer. The framers knew...'
Harrison: Were you just calling me a fool, Mr. Seaborn?
Sam: I wasn't calling you a fool, sir, the brand new state of Georgia was.
Harrison: Gentlemen, laws must emanate from the Constitution.
Toby: There are natural laws, judge.
Harrison: I do not deny there are natural laws, Mr. Ziegler. I only deny that judges are empowered to enforce them.
Toby: Then who will?
Harrison: That's not up to me. And this sideshow is over. With all due respect, Mr. President, I find this kind of questioning very rude.
Sam: Well then, you're really gonna enjoy meeting the U.S. Senate.
Harrison: Be that as it may, it's disgusting. We all know you need me as much as I need you. I read the same polling information you do. Seven to ten point bump, 90 votes, unanimous out of committee, I was courted. Now, you have me taken to school by some kid.
Bartlet: That Sam is young, drives me nuts too, but he took you off for a ride, sir, because that's what I told him to do.
Harrison: I am an extremely well credentialed man, Mr. President, and I'm unaccustomed to this sort of questioning.
Bartlet: I understand, Peyton. Could you give us a little time, please? We'll make you comfortable while you're waiting.
Harrison: Certainly.
Bartlet: Thank you.
[Harrison exits]
Sam: Put him on a bus.
Toby: With a guaranteed confirmation we're sending out the door based on a 30-year-old paper, which by the way, no one will know about but us.
Bartlet: You don't think the guy who called Sam wouldn't know how to call a senator's office?
Toby: Mr. President, if this is really about abortion, we already talked about...
Sam: It's not about abortion. It's about the next 20 years. Twenties and thirties, it was the role of government. Fifties and sixties, it was civil rights. The next two decades, it's gonna be privacy. I'm talking about the Internet. I'm talking about cellphones. I'm talking about health records, and who's gay and who's not. And moreover, in a country born on a will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?
Bartlet: Toby?
Toby: Let's meet Mendoza.

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