Law in Popular Culture

James Spader Argues Before ABC's 'Supreme Court'

If the public isn’t getting enough access and appreciation for how the U.S. Supreme Court operates from the justices themselves, they may be able to glean some insights by watching some prime-time TV drama.

On this week’s ABC hit show Boston Legal, the high court was the featured guest, with producers lining up actors resembling the justices. And the case? Turns out the facts closely resembled the Louisiana capital rape case considered by the Supreme Court last week.

“I can’t recall another time I’ve seen anything as close to the real justices represented on prime-time television, or a moment in which someone in the popular culture—outside an op/ed—really took on the Roberts Court as a collection of political actors rather than an abstract blur of black robe,” Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick wrote for the Convictions blog.

Even though at one point Lithwick says she wanted to throw a shoe at the TV, she concludes that viewers probably, “learned more about the Supreme Court—how it looks and feels inside, how argument happens, how the various Justices behave, and how ideology is at least part of what they do—than they would have done in anything short of an actual visit to the court.”

Here’s the official preview of the show:

Next on Boston Legal: The Court Supreme

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