Stephen Colbert Interviews John Paul Stevens, Disagrees With Retired Supreme Court Justice On Citizens United (VIDEO)
It's been widely reported that politicians have been warned against appearing on "The Colbert Report" for fear of Stephen Colbert using comedy trickery to make them appear foolish. But when you're a retired Supreme Court Justice, you have nothing to lose. John Paul Stevens, who wrote the dissenting opinions on Bush v. Gore as well as the landmark Citizens United case, agreed to be interviewed by Colbert, and more than held his own.
After Colbert accepts the fact that he wasn't able to get a "real" Justice, accusing him of setting a poor example to kids by "quitting" in 2010, and asking Justice Stevens to help him out of a speeding ticket, the comedian had plenty of questions about Stevens' 35 year career on the Supreme Court.
For instance, whether he went "mad with power" when Stevens was acting Chief Justice. Or who was the best basketball player on the Court (and the court). Or whether he ever felt like "zazzing up" his robes with feather boas.
But then, Colbert grilled Stevens at his own game -- the legal profession. As mentioned, Stevens wrote the dissenting opinion on Citizens United, the case that directly led to the creation of Super PACs. Of course, Colbert's own Super PAC has grabbed headlines, as he has raised money to fund various pranks during the election season before turning over the PAC to Jon Stewart so he can run for president.
Without ever bringing up Colbert's own electoral shenanigans explicitly, Colbert and Stevens discussed the concept of corporate personhood, which Stevens rejects. He defends his rejection, claiming that just as not all rights are afforded to all people equally at all times, corporations are not entitled to the same rights as citizens.
Of course, Colbert felt that Stevens was being a little judgmental. And just because he's a former judge gives him no right to do so.