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For Martin Sheen: Life Imitating Art, Supreme Court Style

Actor Martin Sheen is back having a dog in a political fight. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly File Photo)

As a fictional TV president, actor Martin Sheen navigated the death of a Supreme Court justice and a difficult confirmation battle. Now he's weighing in on the debate over replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  

Wisconsinites are getting a phone call from the "The West Wing" star regarding Sen. Ron Johnson’s, R-Wis., stance on judicial nominations. After Scalia's death Feb. 13, Johnson agreed with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the next president, not Obama, should name a replacement. He said in a released statement, “I strongly agree that the American people should decide the future direction of the Supreme Court by their votes for president and the majority party in the U.S. Senate.”  

In the television show, an Aaron Sorkin brainchild, an episode entitled "The Supremes" dealt with a conservative justice dying and the argument surrounding the replacement. Like today, a Democratic president in his second term faced a Senate Republican majority. The problem was solved by allowing the administration to replace the chief justice, who stepped down, and then Republicans picked a conservative to fill the associate justice seat.  

So now, Sheen is getting involved with the real life situation. According to People For the American Way, here is the transcript of Sheen’s call :

"Hi, I’m Martin Sheen, calling on behalf of People For the American Way. Our Constitution is very clear about what happens when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court. It says the President shall nominate a new judge, and that the Senate will give that nominee fair consideration. As you’ve heard, Republicans are playing politics with our Constitution and with the Supreme Court. Senator Ron Johnson has said he doesn’t think that Congress should even give a fair hearing to anyone nominated by President Obama. That’s irresponsible, and it puts partisanship above the law. Call Senator Johnson at (202) 224-5323, and tell him you expect him to put his Constitutional duties first—and give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee."
Johnson is running for re-election against former senator Russ Feingold. According to campaign disclosures, Feingold has received contributions from "The West Wing" actor Bradley Whitford and director Thomas Schlamme. He has also received Hollywood donations from director Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.  

“Senator Feingold’s left-wing campaign is made for an Aaron Sorkin TV political fantasy, so it only makes sense that a phony president from Hollywood would get a co-starring role,” Brian Reisinger, Johnson’s campaign spokesman, said to HOH in response.  

 

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