Abruptly, it is "Friday Morning." C.J. is dabbing at a spot on her blouse as Josh comes up to her. They meet up with Toby, and as they pass a monitor, we see a reporter announcing Ashland's resignation. We then cut to the Ashland speech, in which he is indeed stepping down, delivering a final address from behind the podium in the press room. We slide back to see that the speech is being watched on television by Lang, and that Lang is in turn being watched by Jed. C.J., Josh, and Toby walk up, and C.J. offers some press-conference details as Lang continues to watch Ashland with open admiration. Jed asks her if she's ready. He takes her stunned silence as a yes.
A few feet away, Mulready is chatting with Charlie, asking him why he'd support racial preferences rather than economically-based ones. "Because affirmative action's about a legacy of racial oppression," Charlie says. "It's about compromising admissions standards," Mulready devil's-advocates, and Charlie says, "That's bull." He goes on to talk about leveling the playing field, and Mulready interrupts, saying that the argument Charlie should be using is that grades are from the past, and admissions are about future potential and ability to thrive if given opportunities. "Studies show," he says, "that affirmative-action admits have a higher predisposition to contribute to society." Charlie looks at him suspiciously, then says, "Hang on. I gotta write this down." Heh.
Toby, standing near Jed and Lang, tucks something he's holding back into his breast pocket. Jed stops him and takes it back from him. Jed explains to Lang that Toby has a little daughter, and that he would like at some point to be able to give her his copy of the Constitution, signed by the first female chief justice. Jed hands over the little booklet, and she somewhat shyly asks for a pen. She signs her name, and Toby asks her to add her title. "That's a bit premature," she says nervously. "No," Jed says. She adds the title, and Toby thanks her. C.J. says it's time to go into the press conference.
C.J. introduces Jed to an applauding press corps. He introduces Lang. He introduces Mulready. Both as nominees for the Supreme Court. Toby and Josh look on proudly. The three of them -- Jed and his two nominees -- stand in front of the crowd.
There are a lot of uncertainties about this ending -- how it would play out, whether the advocacy groups would truly be conquered by the deal, whether Jed would be bruised by the fact that Ashland's resignation actually makes the whole thing look like a very obvious setup and payoff, which could backfire on everyone involved. Nonetheless, it would be nice if you could do this -- be an advocate for reasoned debate rather than the unobjectionable safe play. It was well done, though, and I certainly would like to believe there will be more like it. It remains to be seen whether this will actually happen.