West Wing Continuity Guide
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  1. President Bartlet Claims that Leo Has Assured Him that Cabinet Meetings are Periodically Required By the Constitution.
    • Well, as Nikki Goldberg reminded us and sent us to a copy of the Constitution to check, the Constitution doesn't even mention the cabinet.

  2. A Person (such as Mr. Willis in Mr. Willis of Ohio) Cannot Be Appointed to the U.S. House of Representative, Though a Person Could be Appointed to a Senate Seat.
    • This was pointed out to us by Scott Chupack who wrote us on 4 Oct 2000, the following:
      Bill Grieser was torqued off by a recent broadcast of NBC's "The West Wing" that aired Nov. 3, 1999. "Here is a show trying to be so realistic and yet it makes basic factual errors," writes Bill. "The notion of a caretaker Congressman who is taking over his late wife's seat until a new one can be elected is based on an error. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution is very clear that when vacancies occur, an election is called to fill the vacancy. There is no such thing as a caretaker congressman. The show is confusing the procedure in the House with that of the Senate, which allows a governor to appoint someone to fill a vacancy until an election is held.
    • It was independently pointed out by Don Croyle who wrote on October 29 (before we had gotten the above information onto the site): "Appointments to fill a vacancy in the Senate are permitted under the second paragraph of the XVIIth Amendment (Direct Election of the Senate):"
      'When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.'
      In contrast, the fourth paragraph of Article I, Section 2 (Composition and powers of the House of Representatives) says:
      'When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.'
    • See a full copy of the Constitution.
  3. President Bartlet claims to be descended from a doctor by the same name who signed the Declaration of Independence. [#22]
    • As Andrew G. Webb pointed out, though, that person spelled his name with two T's. With Mr. Webb's help we found the relevant government document posted on the web and are reprinting it here (no copyright existing on it). Check it out and you will find, as Andrew Webb told us, that the name is about one-third of the way down the third column of names at the end. If you don't believe us, see another copy of the Declaration of Independence from Indiana University School of Law--Bloomington which lists the signers by state so you can see this Bartlet was definitely from New Hampshire. As to the spelling of President Bartlet's name, that isn't all that obvious from the broadcast except that Josiah Bartlet was said to have 13 letters in it [#13], and the closed captioning and the scripts all spell the name with one "T". And as Terry Fairfax points out (even more obviously): "His long-standing friend and chief of staff did spell it with one "t" (twice) when he printed "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" on a piece of paper during the episode of that same name.
    • But as Ellen Keyne Seebacher writes: "Maybe the spelling just varied for several generations until one of Josiah's paternal ancestors settled on one 't'!"
      • "Look at only the 3,661 most common surnames in the 1790 US census -- and you'll find a total of *20,051* spelling variations. (See http://www.dearmyrtle.com/00/beg28.htm.) Anyone who does genealogy for more than a few days rapidly learns not to get hung up on spellings of names."
      • "I'm afraid this doesn't even vaguely qualify as a continuity error."
  4. Who Was In Charge While the President was in Surgery and Coming out from under the Anesthetic?
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