littlefriend

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Reviews

First Monday
(2002)

Full of distortions of the real Supreme Court process
I have seen each and every episode of this show in the hope that it would improve over time. But any lawyer who is familiar with, or has worked in, the Supreme Court knows that this series just gets worse and worse in each passing episode.

Many of the facts and issues surrounding the cases heard by the "First Monday" Supreme Court are totally ridiculous. Why would the Court grant certiorari (review of a lower court ruling) to a dwarf who claims discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act just because his employer makes accomodations for him under that act? The episode on electrocution was absolutely unbelievable with a series of shockingly strange coincidences. In short, these types of cases in real life do not get to the Supreme Court docket because they are just a waste of time for justices to deal with.

Unlike the "West Wing", First Monday distorts every procedure, practice and tradition observed in the Supreme Court. I need to tell its director and writer that justices sit on the bench and conference table to vote by order of seniority. So Justice Novelli (Joe Mantegna) as junior justice cannot be to the far right of the chief justice. As junior justice, Novelli should also vote first, rather than last, so it would have been impossible for him to be the swing vote in any case. Also, the offices of justices are totally secluded from the public and justices do not walk around the building debating about cases and private issues unlike what this series portrays. It is also strange that the law clerks are depicted as secretaries answering phone calls for the justices, removing their trench coats, etc, since justices are staffed with secretaries and messengers. Finally, the chant that is uttered at the start of a hearing is totally incorrect and distorted in First Monday.

Is it really possible that every case heard by the high court always has direct bearing on only one justice's life? Novelli (who plays the lead role) owns a gun used in a shooting when the Court hears arguments on the gun control law. His daughter invokes the right to privacy from drug testing when a case on privacy (DNA) reaches the Court, etc.

I would not recommend this series to anyone who is serious to learn about the Supreme Court and its impact on American society. Anyone can read numerous books about it or go to your public library for a video on its work.

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