- First Monday
show_name = First Monday
runtime = 1 hour
Joe Mantegna James Garner Charles Durning Hedy Burress Randy Vasquez Christopher Wiehl Joe Flanigan
country = USA
January 15, 2002
May 3, 2002
num_episodes = 13
imdb_id = 0297560 |
"First Monday" is a short-lived U.S. television
dramacentered on the U.S. Supreme Court. Created by " JAG" creator Donald Bellisario, the show aired on CBSfrom January until May of 2002. The name "First Monday" is a reference to the first Monday in October, which is when each Supreme Court term begins. Joe Mantegnastarred as moderate Justice Joseph Novelli, who is appointed to a Supreme Court evenly divided between conservatives and liberals. The show examined how the law clerks and justices dealt with issues and cases that came before the highest court in the United States.
"First Monday" generally dealt with two issues per episode. Earlier in the series, that tended to be two cases. Later in the series, that tended to be one case and one personal issue.
*Justice Joseph Novelli (
Joe Mantegna) was a newly-appointed moderate Supreme Court Justice.
*Chief Justice Thomas Brankin (
James Garner) was the football-obsessed, conservative Chief Justice of the United States.
*Justice Henry Hoskins (
Charles Durning) was Brankin's best friend and a conservative justice, who often spouted limericks during conversation.
*Miguel Mora (
Randy Vasquez) was Novelli's conservative law clerk.
*Ellie Pearson (
Hedy Burress) was Novelli's liberal law clerk.
*Jerry Klein (
Christopher Wiehl) was Novelli's moderate law clerk.
*Julian Lodge (
Joe Flanigan) was Brankin's law clerk.
Other Supreme Court Justices
*Justice Esther Weisenberg (
Camille Saviola) was a liberal justice.
*Justice Jerome Morris (
James McEachin) was a liberal justice.
*Justice Michael Bancroft (
James Karen) was a liberal justice.
*Justice Deborah Szwark (
Gail Strickland) was a conservative justice.
*Justice Theodore Snow (
Stephen Markle) was a liberal justice. This may have been a nod to the earlier play and TV movie, First Monday in October, which featured a liberal Justice Daniel Snow.
*Justice Brian Chandler (
Lyman Ward) was a conservative justice.
*Sarah Novelli (
Linda Purl) was a real estateagent and Novelli's wife.
*Andrew Novelli (
Brandon Davis) was Novelli's son.
*Beth Novelli (
Rachel Grate) was Novelli's daughter.
*Charles Bierbauer (
Charles Bierbauer) was host of "Curveball", a political talk show.
*Senator Edward Sheffield (
Dean Stockwell) was a U.S. Senator who plotted to get Novelli impeached.
January 15, 2002)
**Case 1: A Florida death row inmate is struck by lightning, diminishing his mental capacity. The justices must determine whether executing him violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against
cruel and unusual punishment. The justices refuse to grant certiorari.
**Case 2: A Mexican
transsexualseeks asylum in the United States, due to social persecution of transsexuals in Mexico. The justices rule against the transsexual when it is discovered that the transsexual is actually a transvestite.
*Age of Consent (
January 18, 2002)
**Case 1: A pregnant
teenagergains permission from a court to obtain an abortion. Her parents oppose the abortion and appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. The justices rule in favor of the girl and the lower court.
**Case 2: The Supreme Court hears a case involving a school bully's hurtful comments and the school district's efforts to punish his speech. The justices rule the district's policies violate the bully's First Amendment right to
freedom of speech.
*The Price of Liberty (
January 25, 2002)
**Case 1: A masked witness testifies in a case against a
drug dealer. The prosecution refuses to name of the witness since three previous named witnesses in the case were killed although there is no evidence the defendant was involved in the killing. The defense appeals to the Supreme Court, and the justices rule that the defendant's Sixth Amendment right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him" was violated, so the witness must be named, or she will not be able to testify.
**Case 2: A dwarf lawyer accuses his law firm of discrimination because the firm installed a "mini-office" for him, claiming to be accommodating his disability. He claims the mini-office has resulted in his being treated differently, as if he were a
sideshow. The lawyer also says his size is not a disability. The justices rule in favor of the law firm as the mini-office was a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
*Crime and Punishment (
February 1, 2002)
**A criminal with two previous
felonyconvictions is sentenced to life in prison after committing a misdemeanor. The criminal claims that the state's three strikes lawviolates his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, the 5th Amendment's prohibition against double jeopardy, the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and the Article I, Section 10 prohibition against states' making ex post facto laws. The justices rule against the criminal.
*Family Affairs (
February 8, 2002)
**Case: A man with two wives convicted of
bigamyappeals a lower court verdict, claiming anti-bigamy laws violate his First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The justices rule 4-4 (with Novelli abstaining after not being present to hear the arguments) against the man when one of the justices believes the man's religious beliefs do not actually support bigamy. (See Reynolds v. United Statesfor a similar issue).
**Personal Issue for Justice Novelli: A reporter uncovers possible ties between the Novelli family and the
*Dangerous Words (
March 1, 2002)
widowof a murdered abortiondoctor wins a $6 million case against an extremist pro-lifeweb site that advocated the killing of her husband and several other abortion doctors. The web site operator argues he is protected by his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The justices overturn the verdict after finding that the site was not responsible for the murder and that the web site was indeed protected under the First Amendment.
**Personal Issue for Justice Novelli: The web site operator from the abortion case posts threatening pages targeting Justice Novelli. Beth Novelli finds a
human fetusin her backpack.
*Right to Die (
March 8, 2002)
**Case: The wife and daughter of a man in a
comafor nine years battle over whether he should be kept on life support. The wife wants to end life support, arguing her husband would not want to be kept alive in such a state. The daughter argues that she has seen glimpses of life in her father, so life support should be maintained. The justices rule 5-4 that the man's wife has the right to make medical decisions for him. The case foreshadowed the real-life Terri Schiavocontroversy that would gain national attention in 2005.
**Personal Issue for Justice Novelli: Sarah Novelli sells a $2.2 million home to the head of an anti-smoking organization while a case regarding the
cigaretteindustry is pending before the Supreme Court. When Justice Novelli tells his wife that he will have to recuse himself from the case due to conflict of interestrules, Sarah returns her commission and quits her job as a real estateagent.
*Court Date (
March 29, 2002)
high school junior basketballstar argues that the NBA's rule prohibiting high school age players from entering the NBA Draftis a violation of antitrustlaws. The justices rule 5-4 that the rule of reasonapplies, and the NBA can require the player to complete his high school education.
*Secrets and Lies (
April 5, 2002)
**A case is brought challenging the constitutionality of
Megan's Law. The sex offenders argue that the law violates their Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. The advocates of the law argue that it protects public safety. The justices rule in favor of upholding the law.
**Personal Issue for Justice Szwark: Justice Novelli tells Justice Szwark that a sex offender is living in her neighborhood after he uses a
*Unprotected Speech (
April 12, 2002)
teenagerdigitally placed the faces of classmates on to the faces of adultpornographic film actors and is convicted under a federal law that prohibits "simulated" child pornography. The justices find a loophole that allows them to overturn the conviction without overturning the law, with the intention of sending a signal to Congress that the law was too broad and needed be narrowed.
**Personal Issue for Justice Snow: An audiotape surfaces of Justice Snow disparaging the other justices at a party.
*Strip Search (
April 19, 2002)
sheriffin a small town searching for a serial rapistbegins collecting DNAsamples from all the male patients of the town hospital. One person whose DNA is taken but does not match the rapist's DNA sues in a state court, which orders the sheriff to stop the DNA collection. After the sheriff ignores the state court's order, he finds a match. The accused rapist appeals to the Supreme Court. The justices rule 5-4 that the sheriff's collection of DNA was a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against "unreasonable searches and seizures" by government authorities. The rapist himself is convicted when his wife voluntarily turns over a sample of her husband's DNA.
**Personal Issue for Justice Novelli: Beth Novelli refuses to take a
drug testrequired for her to participate in high schoolsoccer, citing the unfairness of the school's policy of singling out athletes for drug testing. The media learn of the story and focus attention on the Novelli family. Justice Weisenberg cites Beth's refusal to take a drug test in deciding the DNA case.
April 22, 2002)
**Case: The Supreme Court must decide if a small town that bans
guns within its borders is constitutional. The justices rule 5-4 that the ban violates the Second Amendment's protection of the right to bear arms.
**Personal Issue for Justice Novelli: Justice Snow informs his colleagues that Novelli owned a gun that was stolen and used in a
drive-by shootingyears ago.
*Family Secrets (
May 3, 2002)
**Case: The CIA attempts to stop the publication of a book that may reveal
national securitysecrets. The author and the publisher argue that they are protected by the First Amendment's protection of freedom of the press.
**Personal Issue for Ellie Pearson: Ellie believes publication of the book will reveal how her father died.
**Personal Issue for Justice Szwark: As the justices sit down to hear oral argument in the case, Szwark storms off when she sees her daughter is the
lawyerrepresenting the CIA. She has her daughter brought to her chambers and speaks to her about the CIA's manipulation to force Justice Szwark to recuse herself since her daughter's representation of a litigant in the case constitutes a conflict of interest. The other eight justices later vote unanimously that Szwark has no conflict of interest.
**As Ellie and Justice Szwark's daughter walk to a restaurant, Szwark's daughter is struck by a car. Ellie cradles her and screams for help, as the season ends with a
cliffhangerending. As the series is canceled after this episode, the cliffhanger is never resolved.
*"Let's go out there and make
history!" – Chief Justice Brankin in the Justices' football-style huddle before each oral argument.
*"I wet my
pantiesmy first day on the bench." – Justice Weisenberg speaking to Justice Novelli as he stands in awe after entering the courtroom for his first oral argumentas a Justice.
*"Only a fool wants to hear the echo of his own voice." – Justice Novelli explaining to his
law clerks why he hired across the political spectrum.
*"I hate his limericks." – Justice Morris commenting after Justice Hoskins makes a limerick.
*"I thought it was just his
politics." – Justice Weisenberg responding to Justice Morris.
Bruce Broughtonwas nominated for a 2002 Emmy Awardfor Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.
*"First Monday" is not to be confused with the
Sally Field-starring Supreme Court TV drama " The Court", which aired on ABC in late March and early April of 2002. This program aired only three episodes before being yanked from the schedule, making it even less successful than "First Monday" was for CBS.
*Dean Stockwell's character, Senator Edward Sheffield, went on to feature in
JAG, firstly as the Senator and later as the Secretary of the Navy.
Supreme Court of the United States in fiction
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20020806024511/www.cbs.com/primetime/first_monday/ Official CBS Web Site for First Monday] (from the
*imdb title|id=0297560|title=First Monday
*Tv.com show|id=7213|title=First Monday
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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