Season 5 – Episode 7 – “Separation of Powers”

Episode Summary:

As the President’s (Martin Sheen) staff wrangle with Speaker Haffley (Steven Culp) over the pending federal budget, Toby (Richard Schiff) dispatches former Supreme Court clerk and personal friend Joe Quincy (Matthew Perry) to check on the condition of the stricken Chief Justice (Milo O’Shea) — an ancient Supreme Court icon who has Washington wondering if he will finally step down. As the clock ticks on a new budget, hard-charging Angela (Michael Hyatt) faces a mighty challenge as she tries to hammer out an agreement that could compromise Bartlet’s campaign promises. But the President is also focused on a crucial national TV interview that Zoey (Elisabeth Moss) has agreed to tape with a well-known newswoman (Kathrin Lautner) with a knack for exposing raw emotions.

Script:

THE WEST WING
"SEPARATION OF POWERS"
WRITTEN BY: PAUL REDFORD
DIRECTED BY: ALEX GRAVES

TEASER

FADE IN: INT. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE - DAY
A discussion of racial profiling by three paralegals. Chief Justice Roy
Ashland sits
at the head of the table, seemingly very out of it. He begins making a
moaning sort
of noise.

FEMALE PARALEGAL
Sir?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROY ASHLAND
[beginning to stand up] I have to do this before class. Finish my con law
reading.

PARALEGAL
I'm sorry sir, I don't--

A buzzer sounds as an older woman enters the room.

WOMAN
They're ready, Mr. Chief Justice. Do you need help with that, sir?

Ashland walks a few steps, then collapses.

The three paralegals and a woman rush to him, talking over each other.

PARALEGAL
Helen, call an ambulance!

FEMALE PARALEGAL
Sir, sir!

WOMAN
Is he alright?

CUT TO: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

TOBY
Okay, here it is. Chief Justice Roy Ashland may not be enlarged in death
beyond what
he was in life: an idealist, not an icon, a man, not a monument...

He and C.J. are walking through the HALLWAY. Toby is reading from a notepad.

TOBY
...a believer in the irreducible power of the law to shape our society.

C.J.
Okay, but I gotta be careful about saying 'man.'

TOBY?
Why? Oh, come on!

C.J.
You'd be surprised, I get letters.

TOBY
Fine. Human being then, or do the other mammals complain?

They walk past Will, who is sitting outside Toby's office.

WILL
Hey.

TOBY
Who said you could come in here?

Toby, C.J., and Will all walk into TOBY'S OFFICE.

WILL
It's okay, I'm over the flu.

TOBY
Oh, you had the flu.

WILL
[ignoring Toby's sarcastic tone] Are we talking about possible replacements
for
Ashland yet?

TOBY
Granit, Keith, and Toland. And no, we're not talking about it.

WILL
So if the Vice President had a few additional names not to talk about,
where would he
offer not to...

Toby gives Will a look.

WILL
Never mind, I think I can guess.

C.J.
Counsel's office.

WILL
I'm leaving now.

C.J.
Yet another researcher quit.

WILL
Wow, how many's that?

C.J.
The third since you quit.

WILL
Let me guess, he was turned off by the vow of poverty.

TOBY
Are you still here?

WILL
Flowers say 'I'm sorry.'

TOBY
Leave.

Will leaves.

C.J.
You seem... happy.

TOBY
Excuse me?

C.J.
Happy. You know, sensation your fellow mammalians occasionally experience.

TOBY
Haffley's treating the discretionary budget like a chew toy. We're about to
cave on tax
cuts for billionaires and who the hell knows what else... Angela Blake is
giving away
in there. [shuts the office door] But you know what, we're going to appoint
a new chief
justice. Breathe new life into the Constitution. Do you know how rare that
is? The last
five guys didn't get to do it. We're gonna shape the future of jurisprudence,
the laws
that sustain our whole society, or shove somebody in there to strike down
these
God-awful excuses for laws the Republicans are passing.

WILL
[opens the door] Hey. Sorry, but there's news.

TOBY
Enough already. Buffalo Bob is not going to pick the next Chief Justice.

WILL
Neither is the President. Ashland regained consciousness. Seems it was only
exhaustion
and his doctors say he'll make a full recovery.

Will leaves. C.J. and Toby look at each other.

SMASH CUT TO: MAIN TITLES.
END TEASER
* * *

ACT ONE

FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY
Josh is staring at a T.V. screen.

C.J. [on T.V.]
First off, I wouldn't characterize it as a crisis or a breakdown. And while
we're at it,
here are some other things it's no: a showdown, a stalemate, a standoff,
or a text-book
example of partisan gridlock.

JOSH
Donna!

Donna walks in, placing some papers in a file outside the office.

JOSH
Do you have any of those pills left from that naval doctor?

DONNA
Admiral Feel Good?

JOSH
The cold and sinus stuff?

DONNA
The ones that made you sing all of "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie"?

Josh gets up from his desk and walks into the HALLWAY.

JOSH
It was Harry Chaipman. Those big blue ones.

DONNA
Bet you looked cute on that gurney when the airmen had to carry you off of
Air Force
One.

They walk into the BULLPEN.

JOSH
C.J.'s making that up.

DONNA
I've got some echinacea.

JOSH
No. Nothing natural. I need the industrial strength, full-throttle stuff.

Donna gives him some pills.

DONNA
Bartram from the Times called.

JOSH
About what?

DONNA
Budget stalemate.

JOSH
I don't know anything.

DONNA
That's what I told him.

Josh looks at her.

DONNA
I mean not exactly, I said you were busy with you know, things, and couldn't
do press
calls.

JOSH
You should've said I was in the Oval. Didn't it occur to you to say I was
in the Oval?

DONNA
I said you were working on the President's trip to Japan. You're only supposed
to take
one.

Josh takes several of the pills.

DONNA
Stay away from heavy machinery.

Josh gets some coffee.

JOSH
Fortunately Pa and I brought in the last of the winter wheat yesterday,
so I don't have
to operate the combine.

DONNA
What happens if we don't get a budget deal?

JOSH
Get another continuing resolution.

DONNA
See, here's what I don't get. Every year we take these continuing resolutions
like the
dog ate our homework...

JOSH
The Republican majority, but you're close.

DONNA
How come people aren't outraged? The rest of the country can't take endless
amounts of
time to finish their work.

JOSH
Well, you're forgetting the beauty of the federal budget process.

DONNA
What's that?

JOSH
No one understands it.

DONNA
[laughs] Yeah.

CUT TO: INT. NORTHWEST LOBBY - DAY
Charlie is walking with C.J.

CHARLIE
The Speaker's getting in front of a lot of microphones. I just got a call
from Amale
Garbel, said he's a second producer from ABC.

C.J.
Did you take the call?

CHARLIE
I didn't know who he was.

C.J.
He works for Diane Mathers.

CHARLIE
Yeah, I figured that out. He wanted to know about my statement to the Secret
Service
the night of Zoey's kidnapping.

STAFFER [OS]
Hey C.J., senior staff in two.

C.J.
The ecstasy? Did you talk to him about it?

They pause in a doorway.

CHARLIE
Of course not. I took the guy's name very politely and I hung up very
politely. What
was I supposed to do?

C.J.
It's okay, you did the right thing.

CHARLIE
What do I do now?

C.J.
Nothing. I've got it from here. Thanks, Charlie.

C.J. walks into the room while Charlie walks the other direction.

CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY
Leo is walking with Toby.

TOBY
He's not returning the President's calls?

LEO
He's in intensive care, I don't think they have a lot of phones in there.

TOBY
Intensive care? I thought it was... CNN said it was exhaustion.

LEO
Yeah.

TOBY
How do we know he's not...?

LEO
We don't.

TOBY
He's 84.

LEO
So? My grandfather lived to be 90.

TOBY
My grandfather lived to be 96 but the last 20 years he thought the Hapsburgs
still
lived in a palace in Vienna. How long before this gets dangerous, Leo? Before
we've
got a cadaver up there ruling on when life begins?

LEO
[softly] He's been a life-long ally of the President.

TOBY
We're talking about an empty robe, and I don't like this any more than you
do. If Roy
Ashland were a religion, I'd convert. But what happens if we wait until he's
senile,
or ends up in a coma? Then what? We go to our Republican Congress to
impeach? Haffley'll
never do that! He'll leave Ashland on a respirator until one of their guys
is wearing
the windbreaker on Air Force One.

They walk into LEO'S OUTER OFFICE, where Will is waiting.

WILL
How are the budget negotiations going?

LEO
They were in there last night till midnight, back this morning at six.

WILL
And?

LEO
Apparently they're closer on maritime subsidies.

WILL
Is she in over her head?

LEO
It was already a mess. Angela's going to make the best deal she can and try
to get us
out of there in one piece.

Leo, Toby, and Will walk into LEO'S OFFICE.

TOBY
The chief justice won't take the President's calls, maybe we need to send
someone over
there.

LEO
What, just show up with a bunch of balloons and some peanut brittle?

TOBY
It's time to get Ashland off the bench, Leo.

WILL
There's this thing called the Constitution? It's a nagging little document,
I'll grant
you, but--

LEO
What's this about you breaking somebody's coffee mug?

TOBY
What?

LEO
Personnel says another one of your researchers quit, that you broke her mug.

MARGARET
It was a ceramic hippo.

Leo looks at Margaret, who takes the hint and leaves.

TOBY
It got in the way of a misfiled copy of the Congressional record.

LEO
You were refilling with your throwing arm?

TOBY
Can we get back to the chief justice?

LEO
No. What is this, the fourth researcher this month?

WILL
Third.

MARGARET
Leo, he's ready for you.

LEO
[to Toby] Stop breaking things. I don't need the victims of hippo-gate filing
class
action suits.

Leo walks into THE OVAL OFFICE.

BARTLET
[folding a newspaper] It's going to be a brisk 42 tomorrow. Time to break
out that
Irish fishing sweater that C.J. says makes me look like an Irish fisherman.

Leo, C.J., Josh enter the Oval Office. Josh, who is sick, goes to sit next
to C.J.

C.J.
[to Josh] Oh no!

JOSH
I'm past the infectious stage.

C.J.
[turning to the President] Excuse me, sir, if I may, this Diane Mathers
interview...

BARTLET
You still have a problem?

C.J.
Yes I do...

BARTLET
Abbey thinks it'll be fine.

C.J.
Yes, sir...

BARTLET
I think so too. Where's Angela, Leo?

Will and Toby enter and sit down.

LEO
They were here most of the night, came back first thing this morning.

BARTLET
She knew this was at ten?

LEO
She'll be here in a minute.

BARTLET
What else?

TOBY
Sir, the Chief Justice still isn't returning calls.

BARTLET
Yeah, I tried him a couple of times. They're saying it was exhaustion now?

TOBY
Yes, sir, but we can't get anyone to confirm it. His doctors are referring
us back to
his office.

BARTLET
Roy was a great friend, a great man.

TOBY
If his medical condition prevents him from performing his duties as...

BARTLET
He's the best judge of his capacities.

Josh cracks his jaw. Everyone turns and looks at him.

JOSH
Sorry, I just took this sinus stuff. I think I just lost the hearing in
my... my left
ear.

C.J. sneezes.

LEO
Oh, for God... God bless you.

C.J.
Sorry. I'm not getting it.

JOSH
I'm actually getting over it.

WILL
I'm completely over it.

Angela enters and sits next to Toby.

ANGELA
Sorry to be late, sir.

BARTLET
So where are we?

ANGELA
Very close. Fifty billion. But the speaker will only give us the college
tuition tax
deduction if we reduce capital gains taxes by 50 percent and accept a ten
percent
corporate rate cut in our stimulus plan. Mr. President, I know this is painful,
but
if we offer to drop deductible tuition I think we can get them to drop cap
gains and
leave our stimulus.

TOBY
Excuse me? What are we talking about?

ANGELA
The proposed deduction...

TOBY
When was tuition put on the table?!

C.J.
It was a major campaign promise.

TOBY
It was the centerpiece of our re-elect! [turning to Josh] Josh, you just
going to sit
there?

JOSH
[after a pause] You gotta trust the person in the room.

BARTLET
Can we do this, Angela?

ANGELA
Yes sir.

BARTLET
Without the deficit topping 200 billion?

ANGELA
Mm-hmm.

BARTLET
[looking at Leo] Then everything else is on the table. Thanks everyone,
that's it.

Everyone except Leo and C.J. leaves. Bartlet goes to his desk.

BARTLET
200 billion dollar deficit and Haffley wants tax cuts. Take away a few zeroes
and he'd
pass for a mob accountant.

C.J.
I'm sorry, Mister President, but I don't think Zoey should do this interview.

BARTLET
The Diane Mathers thing again?

C.J.
Charlie got a phone call from one of Mathers' producers. They got his
statement to the
Secret Service about Zoey considering taking the ecstasy and I think they
might have
Jean-Paul telling his side of the story.

BARTLET
Abbey thinks Zoey can handle it.

C.J.
Diane Mathers is very good at her job. Sir, if you won't let me cancel it,
at least
let me go up there, make sure she's prepared, run some interference.

Bartlet nods.

LEO
Take the earliest flight up tomorrow.

C.J.
Thank you, Mister President. [leaves]

LEO
If you'd like sir, you could travel up with C.J., we could check with advance.

BARTLET
[looking up from some papers] And Abbey? Who's going to check with her?

Leo looks down, nods.

LEO
On the Chief Justice?

BARTLET
Hmm?

LEO
The Chief? Do you think we should try to...?

BARTLET
Yeah. It's time.

LEO
Thank you, sir.

Leo heads towards his office.

BARTLET
Leo. Do it delicately.

Bartlet takes off his glasses and sighs.

CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY

ANGELA
Josh! Do you have a second?

JOSH
[blowing his nose] Yeah.

ANGELA
I need to get in a counter offer by this afternoon. The guys at OMB said
you have all
the current budget docs, budget break-downs, treasury forecasts?

JOSH
Yeah, we started a couple of months ago.

ANGELA
I wonder if I could get it, and borrow a body to help me sort through it?

JOSH
I got the governors coming in on emission standards, the Japan trip...

ANGELA
The guy at OMB said someone named Donna. Knows the docs inside out.

ANGELA
I know you're a hell of a ??

JOSH
Donna Moss. Okay. Sure.

ANGELA
You're a prince.

They part.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY

TOBY
You were looking for me?

MARGARET
The labor folks are waiting for you in the Roosevelt Room.

TOBY
Deductible tuition! What's next? We could save a few bucks by shutting the
east wing,
turn the south lawn into the mother of all garage sales.

LEO
We're facing our third CR.

TOBY
It's process, Leo! Two months from now no one will give a damn about
continuing
resolutions!

LEO
You wanted more responsibility?

TOBY
What about it?

LEO
The Chief Justice. The president knows it's time.

TOBY
That's not so simple.

LEO
That's why I'm giving it to you.

TOBY
We can't force him to resign.

LEO
Yeah. No, we can't.

Leo leaves the office.

FADE OUT.
END ACT ONE
* * *

ACT TWO

FADE IN: INT. HALLWAY - DAY

TOBY
Hey, Joe?

Joe Quincy, White House associate counsel, turns around.

JOE
Hey, Toby, how ya been?

TOBY
Good. You?

JOE
Fine.

TOBY
You used to clerk for the Chief Justice. That's interesting.

JOE
Is it? I don't know, I mean if you find it interesting...

TOBY
I've just never heard you mention it. Guys around here with two-bit appellate
courtships staple it to their foreheads.

JOE
I can't do it, Toby, I'm sorry.

Joe turns, and the two of them begin walking down the HALLWAY.

TOBY
You haven't even heard what I'm going to say.

JOE
You want me to do the approach, about getting him to resign.

TOBY
I didn't say that.

JOE
I can do the math. You've got a limited amount of time to pick the next guy
and get
him confirmed before the midterms politicize everything. But I work for
you. It's a
question of propriety.

TOBY
I see.

JOE
Do you? The White House can't be seen as pressuring a Supreme Court Justice
to change
his breakfast order, let alone resign. Separation of powers.

TOBY
I see.

JOE
You say that, but in a way that makes me wonder if you really do.

TOBY
The President sets the direction of the Court. I've read the Constitution too.

JOE
He sets it when there's a vacancy.

TOBY
You don't have to ask him to resign, only to sit down with the President.

JOE
You're talking about a guy who stood up to six Administrations, 22 Congresses,
and at
one time or another had half the country ready to lynch him. You think a
former clerk
can pry him lose? I got a meeting at the OEOB.

Joe turns and walks away.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY
Josh and Donna are walking through the bullpen.

DONNA
What am I, chattel? There's a request for everything we have on the budget
from Angela
Blake's office.

JOSH
Yeah, I authorized it.

DONNA
[surprised] You did?

JOSH
Yeah.

They enter JOSH'S OFFICE.

DONNA
You know they've also asked me to go with the files, a sort of living index
if you will
for Angela Blake.

JOSH
We can call her Angela now.

DONNA
You authorized that too?

JOSH
Sure. Did we ever get specifics for...?

DONNA
On the trade bill? Right here.

She hands Josh a file from his desk. Josh sits down and begins to read the
file.

CUT TO: INT. C.J.'S OFFICE - DAY
Charlie is walking down the hallway to C.J.'s office.

C.J. [OS]
The NEC chair can brief in my place on budget negotiations...

Charlie stands in the doorway. C.J. is moving around her office putting away
files,
still talking loudly.

C.J.
...I need HHS public affairs, DPC, Toby, and Will to walk them through the
talking
points, any key developments on the Hill. I have to phone AP and the Post...
[notices Charlie] Hey Charlie. Because I'm still playing catch-up for leaking
that
exclusive on DOD approps to the Times. [walks to the door] Carol?

CHARLIE
She's not out here.

C.J.
I was just talking to her...

C.J. realizes Carol isn't there. She shakes her head, turns to Charlie.

CHARLIE
I wasn't sure if I was going to see you again before you left. Can you give
this to
Zoey?

Charlie hands a CD to C.J. She looks at the cover.

C.J.
I love Macy Gray.

CHARLIE
Zoey's been in a solo, whispery, female acoustic kind of rut right now. I'm
trying to
get her to listen to something with drums.

C.J.
How about some John Phillips Sousa?

CHARLIE
Drums, but not so much with the batons. [pause] My mom used to watch Diane
Mathers all
the time.

C.J.
Yeah?

CHARLIE
When she had that talkshow? She seemed nice, sympathetic, sincere.

C.J.
This is a woman who gets dictators to cry, talk about their love of puppies
and momma's
cooking, confess they had the concentration camps built because they couldn't
get a
date for the prom.

CHARLIE
[smiling] Zoey's gonna be fine, you know.

C.J.
So everyone keeps saying. The President hasn't changed his mind about coming?

CHARLIE
No.

C.J.
I thought he would in the end.

CUT TO: INT. THE ROOSEVELT ROOM - DAY
Angela and Donna are seated, going over some notes.

ANGELA
They came up with it in a bar?

DONNA
Yeah. It was that or the hops deduction.

They laugh.

DONNA
There was a guy named Matt Kelley and he was making 50,000 a year. His
daughter got
into Notre Dame.

ANGELA
So?

DONNA
So, the Bermuda Corporation gets a deduction when they buy off their CEO
for a hundred
million a year. Why not pass a break for a guy like Matt?

Angela looks skeptical.

DONNA
You don't think so?

ANGELA
If his daughter had needed braces, would Josh and Toby have come up with a
plan for
universal orthodontia?

DONNA
Not a chance, huh?

ANGELA
We can still get tax-deductible tuition. We can get a lot of things. We got
to get them
to give it, that's all. How do you think we're doing?

DONNA
[smiles shyly] Me? I don't...

ANGELA
You're an American citizen, you pay taxes, consume government services.

Donna considers for a moment, tucking her hair behind her ear.

DONNA
I think... our side has done a bad job explaining that what we're fighting
for is
important. It's not about abstract programs and endless acronyms, but real
things that
affect real people, like affording college.

ANGELA
You talk to Josh about this?

CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY - DAY
Toby falls into step beside Joe.

JOE
We both going to the ONDCP briefing?

TOBY
No. We're going in here.

He holds open a door to a ROOM. Joe enters, and Toby closes the door.

JOE
Gee Toby, people are going to talk.

Toby sighs.

TOBY
I'm curious. It wouldn't be for the obvious reason, would it?

JOE
What's the obvious reason?

TOBY
You're a conservative. Maybe you'd love to see him stay on the bench. A
liberal icon
reduced to a quivering mass of octogenarian confusion!

JOE
Hold on...

TOBY
Hanging on until he can be replaced by a paleo Republican! The Constitution's
a living
document. You stick to it like it's a boiler plate lease!

JOE
You don't know what the hell you're talking about!

TOBY
Okay.

JOE
Every year, he likes to hire a conservative clerk to argue with, and arguing
with him
helped me to clarify the things I believe in. And one of those things is an
independent
court, above party or interests.

TOBY
He has memory lapses. He drifts during oral arguments.

JOE
He has his good and bad days.

TOBY
The associate Justices are already postponing decisions, holding over
important cases,
going behind his back to assign opinions!

JOE
You don't know that.

TOBY
Yeah, I do. There's no one else left, Joe. He's outlived his wife, his son
was shot
down over Hanoi. There's just his clerks, clerks like you.

JOE
You can't do anything!

TOBY
Let's go over there together right now, you and me.

JOE
To the hospital?

TOBY
He'll see you. You tell me he's okay, and I'll call off the vultures.

CUT TO: INT. A HOSPITAL ELEVATOR - DAY
Toby and Joe stand, not talking. The doors open, and they exit, approaching
a young
woman, who works in the Chief Justice's office.

JOE
Hey Lisa, you catch the night shift?

LISA ZIMMER
[standing] Six to midnight. Steve's coming in to handle the overnights.

They hug.

JOE
This is Toby Ziegler.

Toby, this is Lisa Zimmer, one of the Justice's clerks.

LISA
Sure, I've seen you on Crossfire. I hope you won't be offended, Mr. Ziegler,
but we're
keeping it to family only. You know, friends, colleagues.

TOBY
I just came along to keep Joe company. I saw a coffee cart in the lobby. You
want
anything?

JOE
I'm good.

TOBY
Lisa?

Lisa shakes her head.

TOBY
I'll be downstairs when you're done.

Toby turns and walks back towards the elevator.

JOE
So?

LISA
I don't know what they've told you, but he always bounces back.

Joe looks concerned. He starts to go down the HALLWAY.

LISA
Joe.

Joe turns around.

LISA
He always does.

Joe enters the CHIEF JUSTICE'S ROOM.

JOE
Sir? Mr. Chief Justice?

Joe approaches the Justice's bed. We hear beeping in the background. The
Chief Justice
is unconscious. We see that he is attached to a number of medical monitors,
including
an oxygen mask. Joe looks concerned and alarmed. Clearly, he did not expect
the Justice
to be this badly off. Joe pulls the blanket up.

CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL - DAY

TOBY
Joe?

JOE
I gave him the President's regards.

TOBY
What'd he say? How is he? Was he coherent?

JOE
You know why I didn't want it to spread that I clerked for him? Because I
knew someday
somebody like you would come up to me and ask me to do something like this.

TOBY
So he's alright?

JOE
[disgusted and angry] You guys. You think it's all a game. You're treating
the Court
like it's Tamany Hall gone national.

TOBY
Your side does it better, pushing neo-conservatives in swaddling clothes,
hoping they
don't grow a conscience, let alone a meager understanding of jurisprudence.

JOE
Maybe we could all do it better. But there is such a thing called judicial
independence.
A lifetime appointment! He's still alive so he gets to decide when it's time!

TOBY
[softly] What did he'd say? Or can he even speak?

JOE
He's fine, Toby. He was up, joking. He'll be back in chambers in a couple
of days.

Joe walks away. Toby watches him go.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO
* * *

ACT THREE

FADE IN: EXT. A DIRT ROAD - DAY
A car drives down a dirt road. We see Abbey and Zoey on the porch of the
MANCHESTER
HOUSE as the car pulls up. In the background, a T.V. crew sets up equipment.

Abbey touches Zoey's shoulder as she goes inside the house. C.J. gets out
of the car
and smiles at Zoey.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY
Josh sneezes and blows his nose. Margaret walks up.

MARGARET
Hey, how are you feeling?

JOSH
Good!

MARGARET
[hands him some papers] The President's remarks on opening Japan's microchip
market,
and complaining about autos and flat glass.

JOSH
Flat glass, excellent!

Margaret just looks at him.

JOSH
It's a new thing I'm doing, sort of a positive attitude thing.

MARGARET
Just thought I'd check to see if you needed anything. Donna's still helping
Angela.

JOSH
Still?

MARGARET
Yeah, I guess the negotiations went pretty late after 2:00. They're due to
resume in
about 20 minutes.

JOSH
[disbelieving] Donna's in the budget negotiations?

MARGARET
[nods] I guess.

JOSH
[not looking particularly happy] Outstanding!

Margaret turns and leaves.

CUT TO: INT. TOBY'S OFFICE - DAY
Toby is at his desk. Joe walks in and shuts the door.

JOE
How's it going?

TOBY
[clears his throat] I think I'm coming down with something.

JOE
I'm sorry.

TOBY
You say that, but in a way that makes me wonder if you really are.

Joe sits down across from Toby.

JOE
I can still feel it, you know. The first time I ever got called in to his
office and
yelled at about something he'd read in my law review note. He'd read my law
review
note! And all I could think was, this is the guy. He's why a cop has to read
a criminal
his rights. He's why a couple of mixed race can get married in the state of
Texas.
I spent three nights as a one-L trying to pick apart his Baines versus
U.S. Steel.
I couldn't do it.

Toby smiles briefly, sits back in his chair.

TOBY
I was in a room with Ashland once.

Toby gets up, walks around his desk, and perches on the side.

TOBY
I was a student at City College. Student organizing committee got him to
give a speech
about the history of voting rights. We were hanging from the rafters.

Joe smiles.

TOBY
I talked to him afterwards. I mean, he wouldn't remember me. But I spent
the next six
weeks organizing a voter registration drive. You know when you go out West
how they
say, don't miss the Grand Canyon, it's one of the few things in life that
when you see
it, it doesn't disappoint? That's Roy Ashland.

JOE
[beat] He was unconscious last night. Never came out of it, never said a word.

TOBY
[sighs] I don't want to see him gone, Joe. I want nine Ashlands on the
court. I just-I
just wish he was 40 years younger.

CUT TO: INT. MANCHESTER HOUSE - DAY
C.J. is giving advice to Zoey and Abbey. We see Secret Service agents outside.

C.J.
Diane likes to keep things warm, casual, but she'll try to zing you with
some indirect
attribution like "People say," or "There's a rumor that."

ABBEY
For example?

C.J.
There's a rumor that you're seeing a therapist.

ABBEY
[immediately and a little defensively] You don't have to answer that.

C.J.
[calmly] If you don't answer, she'll just wait, like an infinitely forgiving,
infinitely patient cross between the Virgin Mary and a schnouzer.

ABBEY
It's nobody's business.

ZOEY
Mom, I want to answer. Yes, I'm seeing a therapist.

C.J.
Okay.

ZOEY
I couldn't have dealt with this completely on my own, and I've had lots of
support
from friends and family, but I also needed help. I've gotten some, and it's,
you know,
been good.

C.J.
The help's helped.

ZOEY
[laughs] Great, I'll use that, thanks.

C.J.
Zoey, we need to take a moment and talk about that night at the club with
Jean-Paul.
Had you agreed to take drugs?

Abbey looks down.

CUT TO: INT. NORTHWEST LOBBY - DAY
Men and women in dark suits are leaving the building. Josh watches them go
by, then
walks in to THE ROOSEVELT ROOM, where Donna, Angela, Leo, and some staffers
are.

JOSH
What's going on?

LEO
We're having a bit of a breakdown. If "breakdown" is the word.

ANGELA
Works for me.

JOSH
What happened?

STAFFER
They don't want to deal is what happened. The capital gains cut...

ANGELA
[breaks in] They came back and said it's not negotiable. They want to make
it bigger.

JOSH
So, what now?

ANGELA
Another continuing resolution, till Christmas this time.

JOSH
You've got to be kidding. You let it drag on that long, they'll try to
de-fund the
Yule log.

ANGELA
It gets better. They're not willing to continue funding at the current
level. They
want a one percent cut on everything except defense and homeland security.

JOSH
How could this happen?

LEO
[a note of warning in his voice] Josh.

JOSH
No, Leo. How is this acceptable? Haffley's not the Prime Minister. You take
this to
the President, you know what he'll say?

LEO
He'll say yes.

JOSH
How can you say that?

LEO
To keep the lights on. To make sure a couple million federal employees keep
on getting
paid. It's two more months.

JOSH
This isn't governing, it's duck and cover.

LEO
He'll say that, too.

Leo leaves. Angela and Donna get up and start gathering their things.

JOSH
At least be...

ANGELA
What?

JOSH
I don't know. Embarrassed.

DONNA
It wasn't her.

JOSH
What?

DONNA
You know the hand she was dealt.

JOSH
You're saying it was me.

DONNA
No. I'm saying we may have won in a landslide, but we didn't take Congress
with us, and
now it looks like we're not taking the country with us, and the other guys
know it.

They look at each other for a moment.

DONNA
Gotta get back to work.

Donna leaves. Josh stares off into space for a moment.

JOSH
It's nice when you make new friends.

ANGELA
You know, all this time she's been fighting for you, for your plan to send
everyone to
college.

JOSH
It's not a bad plan.

ANGELA
No, and they didn't think so either. I even think they wanted to go along
with it, run
ads they voted for it. But we'd have had to squeeze Medicaid, the EITC,
poor people
paying for college kids and Wall Street. I don't think that Jed Bartlet
would have
signed off on that!

Josh leaves the room before she finishes. Angela sighs.

ANGELA
[to an empty room] I got you till Christmas.

CUT TO: INT. THE CHIEF JUSTICE'S HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
Joe enters the room.

JOE
Sir?

Ashland looks up.

ASHLAND
Mr. Quincy. Back to argue McLode v. Transportation security?

JOE
[smiling] Suspect class. Strict scrutiny.

ASHLAND
No no no, you work for the President now. That would be ex parte.

JOE
I'm glad to see you're doing better, sir.

ASHLAND
This just a social visit?

JOE
No sir, it's not.

ASHLAND
The President sent you.

JOE
Yes sir, he did.

ASHLAND
I think it's time we called each other by our first names, Joe, don't you?

JOE
Yes sir, Mr. Chief Justice.

Ashland laughs and pats Joe's hand.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - DAY
Toby walks in. Leo looks up from his papers.

TOBY
Now what?

LEO
Another continuing resolution to take us through the holidays.

TOBY
So now we won't have a budget until we're up against the State of the Union.

LEO
Anything on Ashland?

TOBY
He's coming over to see the President.

LEO
When?

TOBY
Now.

LEO
You're kidding.

TOBY
I just got off the phone with Joe Quincy.

MARGARET [OS]
The President's ready.

LEO
Well, that's great.

Leo gets up and walks towards the door that connects to the Oval Office. Before
he
leaves, Toby speaks again.

TOBY
Leo. We gave away college tuition for nothing.

LEO
Good work on the Chief Justice.

Leo enters the Oval Office.

CUT TO: INT. MANCHESTER HOUSE - DAY
Zoey is seated on a sofa, dressed nicely in a shirt and skirt, talking to
Diane
Mathers. Video equipment fills one half of the room.

ZOEY
I don't think anyone should try to go through something like this alone.

DIANE MATHERS
And has it helped?

ZOEY
Yes. The help's helped.

She pauses. Diane doesn't react, so Zoey continues.

ZOEY
A lot.

DIANE
I think we can all see that.

ZOEY
Good, I'm glad.

DIANE
Zoey, I know this will be difficult. But what happened that night at the
club with
Jean-Paul and the ecstasy?

We see Abbey and C.J. standing off to one side, watching the interview.

DIANE
You know he says that you...

ZOEY
I know what he says.

DIANE
You sound angry.

ZOEY
I am angry. But the only thing I can do, the only thing any of us can do,
is to tell
the truth about what happened to us, and try to find a way to live with the
shame and
self-doubt that comes with having trusted someone who then betrayed you.

DIANE
Is there anything you'd like to say to Jean-Paul?

Her voice fades as the camera follows Abbey, who has left the room, her hand
over her
mouth. C.J. follows her.

ABBEY
[distraught] How much longer?

C.J.
She'll be wrapping up. That was her big gun.

ABBEY
Thank you. She did well. You did an excellent job.

C.J.
You, too.

ABBEY
That's why she needed time up here.

C.J.
I meant you've raised a remarkable young woman.

ABBEY
Oh. She was always Jed's little girl. [smiles, a bit wistfully]

C.J.
[beat] Mrs. Bartlet, may I say, we miss you.

ABBEY
That's very kind. Please don't be offended if I say I don't miss you.

They both laugh, but a bit awkwardly.

C.J.
It's been very busy. The budget, Japan in a few weeks, and the Chief
Justice...

ABBEY
We get newspapers up here, C.J., you don't have to apologize for him not
coming.
I asked him not to.

CUT TO: INT. NORTHWEST LOBBY - NIGHT
Joe and Toby watch as Ashland is wheeled in. Joe walks over to him and talks
the
wheelchair handles from Lisa. Joe pushes Ashland to the OUTER OVAL OFFICE,
where Leo
is waiting.

CHARLIE
He's just getting off the phone with his daughter. I'll let him know you're
here, sir.

They all wait for a moment. Charlie comes back.

CHARLIE
Please.

Joe starts to push the chair.

ASHLAND
No. I can walk.

Ashland slowly pushes himself up from his chair.

LEO
Mr. Chief Justice.

Ashland walks into THE OVAL OFFICE.

TOBY
[to Joe] Thank you.

JOE
I didn't do it for you.

CUT TO: INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
Bartlet walks from behind his desk.

BARTLET
[warmly] Chief.

They shake hands.

ASHLAND
By God, Jed, you look terrible.

BARTLET
Well, yes, there's something going around.

They sit down, Bartlet helping Ashland.

BARTLET
I'm glad to see you doing so well, sir.

ASHLAND
Are you?

BARTLET
Yes, I am.

ASHLAND
Can you do it?

BARTLET
I don't want to. But if it's time, if your condition warrants.

ASHLAND
Who'd you get to replace me?

BARTLET
I'd hoped to consult with you.

ASHLAND
Holmes.

BARTLET
Holmes?

ASHLAND
Oliver Wendell. Marshall, John or Thurgood, either one. I want Brandeis,
Blackman,
Douglass. But you can't get them, can you? Because it's all compromises now,
the ones
who have no record of scholarship, no body of opinions, nothing you can hold
them to,
that's who they'll confirm, raging mediocrities.

BARTLET
The other eight are preparing to take it away from you, Roy. Holding over
cases, the
major decisions. How long can the country wait?

ASHLAND
My clerks are preparing a brief. There's an Arab-American man, grabbed out
of a line
at the airport. What's next? Tribunals, identity cards, bar codes tattooed
on our
forearms?

BARTLET
Then give me a name.

ASHLAND
Daniel Robenov, New York State Supreme Court. Susan Bengaly, Ninth
Circuit. [shakes his
finger at Bartlet] But they won't confirm them, will they? I have good days,
and bad.
But on my worst day, I am better than the ambulance chasers you can get
confirmed by
the Senate. You can't do it, Jed. You're not strong enough. The Speaker's
running the
table. And I can't take a chance.

Outside, lightning flashes. Bartlet looks pensive.

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Donna sticks her head in.

DONNA
They're here.

Josh gets up immediately and follows her out of the office. We see Haffley
and his
aides get out of cars outside of THE WEST WING, then walk though the
LOBBY. Josh and
Donna join Will outside the BULLPEN AREA as the Republicans walk by.

JOSH
They all here?

WILL
Yeah.

JOSH
[to Donna] Go.

Donna looks hesitant.

JOSH
Go.

Donna nods and walks after the Republicans into THE ROOSEVELT ROOM. Inside,
many
people are milling around and talking. Bob Russell walks up to Haffley.

RUSSELL
Mr. Speaker.

HAFFLEY
Mr. Vice President.

LEO
[to Haffley] The President is finishing up a meeting. He'll be right in.

SENATOR ROBERT ROYCE [R - PA] approaches Leo.

ROBERT ROYCE
Any word on the Chief Justice?

LEO
That's the meeting.

ROYCE
He's in the White House?

LEO
Came straight from his adjustable bed. Man's a force of nature.

Bartlet enters the room. Everyone takes their places around the table,
including
Bartlet, Russell, Leo, Angela, Donna, Haffley, and Royce.

BARTLET
Mr. Speaker, Senator.

ROYCE
I want to thank you, Mr. President, on behalf of my colleagues. None of us
thinks
this is a perfect deal. No one likes to see the sausage made, including the
guys who
make it. But this is an expression of willingness by both sides to keep all
avenues
open to an eventual resolution.

BARTLET
Yes, thanks, Robert. And thanks for saying it this time. I think I had to
make that
little speech the last time around.

Everyone smiles.

BARTLET
Or maybe the time before. This is our third CR, our third time coming up
short. We
have to do better. People aren't paying us to duck the hard choices. You
want to run
through the details, Angela?

Everyone sits down.

ANGELA
An act of Congress. Continuing resolution to extend no later than January
3rd,
midnight, to include a reduction of one percent.

HAFFLEY
Excuse me, Mr. President, I'm sorry. There's been a change. I know we talked
about a
one percent cut. It's going to have to be three.

ANGELA
Mr. Speaker, nothing like this was even mentioned, much less disc--

BARTLET
Hold on.

HAFFLEY
I'm sorry I couldn't give more notice, but I just came from our conference,
and I had
significant opposition to only one percent.

BARTLET
Only one percent.

HAFFLEY
Yes, sir.

BARTLET
We had a deal at one percent.

HAFFLEY
But now my members have to go back to their districts for the holidays,
explain why we
kept the gravy train running with a rising deficit and an economy crying
out for tax
relief. It's an economic situation that calls for action, not status quo
spending. Now
three percent may sound painful but it's only for two months. It'll show
we're serious.

BARTLET
What's next?

HAFFLEY
Sir?

BARTLET
In two months. Five percent? 50? How many rounds do we go, Jeff? I'm just
asking.

HAFFLEY
There is no next, sir. I mean not to get too technical, but this government
runs out
of money at midnight. And my guys are going home. This is it.

Bartlet considers this for a moment. Then he shakes his head.

BARTLET
No.

HAFFLEY
There is no altering this offer, Mr. President.

Bartlet stands. Everyone else quickly follow.

BARTLET
And I said no.

HAFFLEY
Let's be clear, sir. We cannot, we will not, vote to keep on footing the
bill. You
will be held responsible for shutting down the federal government.

BARTLET
Then shut it down.

The lights shut off.

DISSOLVE TO: END CREDITS.
FADE TO BLACK.
THE END
* * *

The West Wing and all its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John
Wells
Production, Warner Brothers Television and NBC. No copyright infringement
is intended.

Episode 5.07 -- "Separation of Powers"
Original Air Date: November 12, 2003, 9:00 PM EST

Transcibed by: The Vault

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