Like many institutions that draw public interest, the Supreme Court of the United States has frequently been depicted in fiction, often in the form of legal drama. In some instances, real decisions rendered by real Courts are dramatized, as in Gideon's Trumpet and the seminal trial in The People vs. Larry Flynt. Other depictions are purely fictional, but center on realistic issues that come before the Court. Television series centered on dramatizing the happenings of the Court have proven to be short-lived, and have tended to receive overall negative critical reaction.
First Monday (13 episodes in 2002, starring Joe Mantegna and James Garner). Mantegna portrayed a fictional Joseph Novelli, a moderate and potential swing vote appointed to a Supreme Court evenly divided between conservatives and liberals. Garner was the conservative Chief Justice.
Two episodes of The West Wing ("The Short List" in 1999, and "Celestial Navigation" in 2000) center on the nomination of "Roberto Mendoza," played by Edward James Olmos, as the first Hispanic Justice. A third episode, "The Supremes" in 2004, dealt with the issue of preserving ideological balance on the Court. The President makes a deal with the Republican Congress to simultaneously appoint a very liberal judge "Evelyn Baker......