On Sunday night, John Oliver returned from a brief Emmys-timed break to the Last Week Tonight desk.
And the Emmy winner began by addressing the news of President Trump nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Barrett, a disciple of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is anti-LGBT, anti-reproductive rights, and anti-immigrant. She belongs to a fringe Charismatic Christian sect called People of Praise, which believes women are second-class citizens to men and the highest level they can attain within the group is that of women’s-issues advocate, which until recently they called “handmaiden.”
“Trump is about to replace a liberal icon with an extremely conservative justice who’s been called the female Antonin Scalia, and she can serve for a long time,” explained Oliver. “Amy Coney Barrett is only 48, and I know that I make 43 look like 76, but trust me, that is young for a Supreme Court justice.”
“If, and almost certainly when, Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the impact could be dire,” the HBO host continued. “In recent years, key cases have been decided by just one vote—from upholding the Affordable Care Act, to preserving DACA, to striking down an incredibly restrictive abortion law. Should those issues come before the court again, they could now easily go the other way. And there is clearly no point holding on to hope that conservatives might choose to respect they precedent they set by refusing to even consider Merrick Garland in an election year, because that was always in bad faith, as was obvious at the time.”
The comic then threw to audio of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in a closed-door meeting on Oct. 29, 2016, saying, “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I’m gonna do everything I can do to make sure that four years from now, we’ve still got an opening on the Supreme Court.”
“That’s a Republican senator admitting to blocking a justice confirmation not just in an election year, but for an entire presidential term,” offered Oliver.
And there’s Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) rationale for why he’s supporting Trump nominee Barrett.
“I recognize that we may have a court which has more of a conservative bent than it’s had over the last few decades, but my liberal friends have, over many decades, gotten very used to having a liberal court, and that’s not written in the stars,” said Romney. “It’s also appropriate for a nation which is, if you will, center-right, to have a court which reflects center-right points of view.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Mitt?!” exclaimed Oliver. “Set aside the notion that a court that gutted the Voting Rights Act is a ‘liberal court,’ since when is this nation naturally center-right?”
“For the record, more Americans (47 percent) say they align with the Democratic Party than the Republicans (42 percent). Plus, poll after poll has shown Americans favor abortion rights, with support of Roe v. Wade reaching record highs, while a strong majority of the public also supports Medicare-for-All. Oh, and incidentally, a solid majority (59 percent) say the winner of this presidential election should be the one to choose Ginsburg’s successor.”
“So, our country isn’t so much center-right as Mitt Romney is center-wrong,” concluded Oliver, adding, “Look, this has been a very dark week for lots of people. The Supreme Court is about to lurch to the right for the foreseeable future, and if things seem hopeless right now, it’s because, to be completely honest, they basically are.”