Briefs

PARIS: And in regards to the student council meeting –

RORY: Oh, you mean the one where you tried to impeach me because you haven’t been properly diagnosed yet?
PARIS: If you’ll just allow me access to my briefs

Paris refers to legal briefs, a written legal document used in various legal adversarial systems that is presented to a court arguing why one party to a particular case should prevail. (In the UK and Commonwealth, the word refers to papers given to a barrister when they are instructed).

Rory tells Paris that she is insane for trying to impeach her; comically, Paris responds by acting as if she is preparing to defend herself in a legal trial.

IRS

JESS: IRS.
NICOLE: I’m not IRS.

IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. It is responsible for collecting US federal taxes, and is an agency of the Department of Treasury.

Jess assumes that Nicole is at the diner to investigate Luke’s taxes, or provide an in-house audit. These audits can be selected randomly, so Jess is not implying that Luke necessarily did anything wrong when filing his tax return.

Impeachment

PARIS: I move to put to a vote the impeachment of Rory Gilmore.

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. In the US, impeachment at the federal level is limited to those who may have committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”—the latter phrase referring to offenses against the government or the constitution, grave abuses of power, violations of the public trust, or other political crimes, even if not indictable criminal offenses.

The US House of Representatives has impeached an official 21 times since 1789: four times for presidents, 15 times for federal judges, once for a Cabinet secretary, and once for a senator. Of the 21, the Senate voted to remove 8 (all federal judges) from office.

The four impeachments of presidents were: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, Donald Trump in 2019 and again in 2021. All four impeachments were followed by acquittal in the Senate. An impeachment process was also commenced against Richard Nixon, but he resigned in 1974 to avoid likely removal from office.

As the student advisor says, school councils don’t have the authority to impeach anyone.

Michel’s Deposition

MICHEL: My neighbor had this dog, a frisky little scamp that used to love to yap to his friends all night long. It was so cute. Then one day he disappeared. I told the police what I knew, but sadly the adorable little chatterbox was never found. It was tragic.
LORELAI: You got rid of a dog? …
MICHEL: I will gladly show you the transcript from the lawyer and the results of the lie detector test.
LORELAI: You’re heinous.
MICHEL: And very well rested.

Compare with Richard’s retort that at least he and Emily will be well rested, after Lorelai says they are both going to hell for snapping up a dead man’s property so quickly.

Michel, the (unproven) dog killer! It is actually possible to beat a lie detector test, although quite difficult. Michel is obviously a very cool customer. It’s much easier to fail one while being innocent, due to anxiety. These false positives are why evidence from one is not admissible in a court of law in the US.

Bob Merrimam

ANSWERING MACHINE: Ms. Gilmore, it’s Bob Merrimam, your mother’s lawyer. I’m calling about the little matter of this lawsuit she’s involved in. We’d like it if you could give a deposition . . .

The voice of Bob Merrimam is supplied by Seth MacFarlane, friend and colleague of Daniel Palladino from Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane had already had a role on Gilmore Girls.

Bob asks Lorelai to give a deposition in support of her mother’s case against Gerta, the unfairly dismissed German maid. This is where the episode title, “I Solemnly Swear” comes from, because that’s the beginning of the oath taken in legal contexts.

“Princess Diana’s butler”

PARIS: Are the [votes] for Princess Diana’s butler jokes or real?

Paris refers to Paul Burrell (born 1958), English former servant of the British Royal Household, and Princess Diana‘s butler from 1987 until her death in 1997.

In 2003 he released a memoir called A Royal Duty, detailing his life as a royal servant, and in particular focusing on Princess Diana, who he claimed had called him “the only man she ever trusted”. Princess Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, accused Burrell of betraying their mother’s confidences, and called the book, “a cold and overt betrayal”.

The book didn’t come out until October, but pre-publicity probably went on for a long time before that, as reviewers called it “the long-awaited” memoir. Burrell had also been in the news in November 2002, in court for theft of Diana’s possessions. The case collapsed when he was granted immunity from prosecution by the Crown.

Louise’s Father and the “Manson Girl”

LOUISE: I’m having [Thanksgiving] dinner with my dad.

MADELINE: Isn’t he still in jail?

LOUISE: Yes, but his company donated some treadmills for the inmates so he swung a special trailer for dinner that they’re gonna set up for us in the parking lot. We have it for about two hours and then one of the Manson girls gets us.

In the episode “Back in the Saddle”, Louise mentioned that her father was due in court, on mysterious charges (she didn’t bother finding out what he had been arrested for). Now it’s seven months later, and Louise’s father is undertaking his sentence – for whatever it was. Madeline refers to it as “jail”, rather than “prison”, possibly suggesting a shorter, lighter sentence (although sometimes people use the word jail for both jail and prison, so that’s not certain at all).

It does sound as if Louise’s father is in a low or medium security facility, since he is permitted to spend his Thanksgiving dinner in a trailer in the parking lot with his daughter (and possibly other family members, it seems unlikely only Louise would go and see him). These trailers are a reward for good behaviour given to model prisoners, so Louise’s father is clearly well-behaved – even the donation of treadmills to the prison would not be enough on its own. Connecticut is one of only four states that allow extended visits like this (the others are California, New York, and Washington).

Louise says the trailer then goes to “one of the Manson girls”, referring to the female members of the Manson family who were convicted for their crimes. In real life, they were incarcerated in California, and in high security prisons, so this could not have really happened. (Squeaky Fromme was in a high security mental treatment facility in Texas).

Interestingly, there is a state prison in Cheshire, Connecticut called the Manson Youth Institution, for men under the age of 21. Louise can’t be referring to that either, as they are young men, not women, and they are not permitted visits such as she describes.

It is just possible that Louise’s father is being held at the federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut [pictured], a medium and low security prison and satellite prison camp which has facilities for both male and female inmates – so if Louise’s dad’s trailer wasn’t going to a “Manson girl”, it could feasibly be going to a female prisoner, at least. The facility in Danbury has often featured in pop culture, including Orange is the New Black.

Rosa Parks

TAYLOR: Well, that’s not indicated here, but it doesn’t matter, because protesting is not allowed in the town square, period. It’s un-American.

LUKE: You mean like the Revolutionary War?

BABETTE: And Rosa Parks?

TAYLOR: That’s different. They were against the British and buses. No one likes the British or buses.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005), an activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1955, she refused a bus driver’s order that she vacate her row of seats in the “coloured” section of the bus to make way for white people, once the “white” section was full. Her act of civil disobedience helped inspire the black community to boycott the Montgomery bus company for over a year. In 1956, the courts decided that bus segregation was unconstitutional.

Rosa Parks became an international icon of resistance to segregation, and collaborated with civil rights leaders such as Edgar Nixon and Martin Luther King Jr. Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job, and received death threats for years afterwards.

Rosa Parks received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. California and Missouri commemorate Rosa Parks Day on her birthday, February 4, while Ohio, Oregon, and Texas commemorate the anniversary of her arrest, December 1.

Comically, Taylor thinks that Rosa Parks was protesting buses, which he appears to approve of! Is Taylor against public transport?