Political opinions and the First Amendment aren’t always comfortable bedfellows, as Diane Lockhart learned the hard way tonight. (However, ambient noise videos and lucky phone calls co-exist quite well. Just ask Grace Florrick.)
Diane takes an unpopular stand
First, let’s tackle the ripped-from-the-headlines case of a sting video capturing Dr. Hallie Fisher of the 8th Street Clinic talking flippantly about harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. Naturally, this gets Reese Dipple, Lockhart, Agos and Lee’s biggest and most-convervative client, all worked up.
So he sends Ethan Carver (Peter Gallagher) to ask Diane to represent Citizens for Ethical Medicine, the anti-abortion rights group that shot the video. Fisher is suing to block its release. Diane prepares for court, rationalizing that the case is no longer about abortion. It’s about prior restraint violating the First Amendment.
So Diane and Cary arrive in court to find screaming protesters on both side. Diane’s client greets her with an eerily calm “God bless.” You can tell Diane wants to take a Silkwood shower after all of this.
The lawyers bat around several arguments, in true Good Wife fashion: two-party recording consent, expectation of privacy, non-disclosure agreements, whistle-blowers. It’s a zoo, and every time the lawyers want to show a portion of the video, the bailiff has to clear the cheering, chanting crowd from the courtroom and then usher them back in again afterward.
But no matter how often Diane privately insists that the First Amendment has to apply even to ideas that you hate, her liberal allies don’t see it that way. Bea Wilson of the National Council on Women’s Right tracks her down to express her furious disapproval. And since Bea is played by Kelly “Emily freaking Gilmore” Bishop, you know that furious disapproval is both icy and cutting. She asks Diane how she can compromise her stance supporting abortion rights in the face of a right-wing attack, and Diane yet again repeats her position that arguments have to be strong enough to stand up to the marketplace of ideas. Bea is not impressed.
Neither is the judge on the case, who pulls Diane into his office for a little ex parte communication, urging her to drop the case because it goes against everything she believes in, everything she is.
It gets to be too much, and Diane finally proves her lawyerly mettle by asking for a substitution of judges on the basis of his political bias, which emerged during their ex parte communication. The judge blows his top, and Diane tells her client that she tried her best but is now a liability who should withdraw from the case.
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Cary congratulates Diane on the strategy, though it feels like she lost the battle to win it, yet she still lost the war by making an enemy of that judge and alienating her clients.
NEXT: Diane’s loss is Alicia’s gain