Previously on The West Wing: Jed told Toby about his relapsing remitting MS; Toby tore Jed and Leo new ones; Jed wondered whether Toby's pissed because he wasn't the first to know; Toby's not sure so Jed's going to be running for re-election; Leo insists Jed hasn't broken any laws; Toby informs Jed they're going to have to speak to some lawyers in the very near future.
The scene opens in an elegant office lined with shelves full of law books. A title informs us that this is the Office of the White House Counsel. A staffer, whom I'm going to call Nicole until Sorkin gives me a reason to do otherwise, is telling Oliver Platt to go home, because he's been up all night. (I guess Lionel Tribby must have cracked up when he finally got to his warm place, with the little umbrellas. Or maybe Ainsley was the last straw.) He points out that this is because his staff's work on the analysis of HR 437 "ignored the Fourth-Amendment implications, and instead, became fascinated with the Third, Seventh, and Eleventh." This has caused him to be up all night. Both staffers present wearily acknowledge this. Oliver gripes, "Like you've got to be a prime number to get the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court." Nicole tells him to go home and get a few hours' sleep before he has to go to the airport. Oliver asks again where he's going; she says he's going on vacation. He insists it's not a vacation, it's a forced vacation. I don't know about this guy, but personally, I'll take any kind of vacations I can get. The second staffer, whom I'll refer to as Jim, points out that it's in Borneo. Nicole and Jim are packing Oliver's briefcases. Oliver reminds them that it's an international law summit, and states that he's supposed to show his support for...he's not certain. He asks, "So I have that in my notes someplace?" He picks up a large wooden gavel and fools with it a bit. Nicole says yes. He mentions some amicus briefs that he needs; his staff tells him they're there. Nicole neutrally asks Oliver, "Would you like us to pack your big hammer?" Oliver: "Okay, you know what? Don't make fun of the big hammer. The big hammer happens to be a gavel given to my father's father by Justice Louis Brandeis. I need a Dictaphone." I notice this is one of Sorkin's little idiosyncrasies: gifts/props esteemed heritages. There's the Paul Revere carving set, the cricket bat given to Lionel Tribby by Queen Elizabeth, this gavel...I'm sure there are others. You can discuss it in the forums. Just don't start a whole thread about it, hmm? ["BURN!" -- Wing Chun] Also, it seems to be important for the White House Counsel to have some sort of pounding instrument at hand. Anyway, Nicole says he has a Dictaphone on his desk. Oliver insists that it doesn't work; it's stuck on "record" and won't stop recording things: "So it's just what you want lying around the White House Counsel's office, because there's never been a problem with that before." Hee! Nicole puts hers in his bag and says they'll have his fixed. A phone rings in the background. He gets up and puts on his jacket, as she urges him to go home and get some sleep until his plane leaves. As he's almost out the door, another assistant says, "Excuse me, Mr. Babish? That was Mr. McGarry's office. He's on his way down with the President." Oliver stops, looks weary, and returns to his office. Nicole suggests that he fix his tie. It also seems to be obligatory that White House Counsel be prevented, by some sort of governmental crisis, from ever going on vacation.