Well, it's not really stealing if you're stealing from yourself, I guess.
(I should clarify that I am a gigantic West Wing fan. I tease because I love!)
But I can't judge Sorkin too harshly. How many times have I looked at a past work of mine and noticed a line of dialogue that's suspiciously similar to something in my new WIP? As in, it's word-for-word the same in both projects?
We all have our signatures as writers - themes we're fascinated with and love to explore from different angles, character dynamics we can't get enough of, or a particularly distinctive turn of phrase that keeps popping up in different situations. I know for me, in particular, if I somehow managed to write a story without themes of power and powerlessness, I would throw myself a parade. (Coincidentally, in at least two different stories, my protagonist has promised herself that if she somehow manages not to [plot-specific thing here], she will throw herself a parade. There are a lot of parades going on over here, apparently.)
So over to you, OAers. What are your "Sorkinisms?"