A shiny new Emmy hasn’t dampened “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver’s fire. On an information-packed Sunday night edition of the late night talk show, Oliver returned after a month-long hiatus with plenty to say about current events. In opening the show, Oliver took the long view, zipping from a stat-filled look at the rushed process to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty Supreme Court seat with President Trump’s pick, Amy Coney Barrett (described by Oliver as the “female Antonin Scalia”) through a disheartening look at how her installation into the highest court in the land could swing the court to a conservative majority.
“When Barrett is confirmed, a president who lost the popular vote will have picked a quarter of the federal judiciary and a third of the Supreme Court and his choices will have been rubber-stamped by a Senate Republican majority representing 15 million fewer than the Democratic minority,” Oliver said.
Oliver offered a series of quick examples of the sort of major cases that were swung by just a single vote in the court, including upholding the Affordable Cart Act, preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and striking down a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana. Or, as Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) said in a clip, that the court should represent the center-right politics of the national population.
“Our country isn’t so much center-right as Mitt Romney is center-wrong,” joked Oliver. It was one of the few laughs on offer in the segment, because while Oliver is usually adept at finding the humor in even the most horrific of stories, this latest batch of news has thrown him for a loop.
“The unavoidable truth is that the system is already rigged and it’s rigged in a way that has allowed a party without popular support to drastically reshape an entire branch of government for the foreseeable future by appealing almost exclusively to white voters in some of the least populous parts of the country,” he said. “That is not a mandate or democracy. It’s a fucking travesty. We’re at the end of a generational battle and the heartbreaking thing is — we lost. It’s going to hurt for a long time for a lot of people. The next battle has to start right now. Sometimes fighting fire with fire is not enough. You have to fight mule piss with mule piss.”
Check out the full clip from “Last Week Tonight” below. The show will end its seventh season run with a brand-new episode airing next week.