Colbert Making Supreme Court Look Stupid

Dahlia Lithwick says court is ill-equipped to deal with comedy

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 3, 2012 1:25 PM CST

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has had plenty of powerful foils over the years, like Andrew Jackson and FDR, "but in the history of the Supreme Court, nothing has ever prepared the justices for the public opinion wrecking ball that is Stephen Colbert," writes Dahlia Lithwick at Slate. With his super PAC, Colbert has made every part of the Citizens United ruling "look utterly ridiculous. And the court, which has no access to cameras, no press arm, and no discernible comedic powers, has had to stand by and take it on the chin."

Trevor Potter, the former FEC chairman who helped start Colbert's PAC, calls it an "opportunity to open up to the rest of the world what we lawyers already know: that the whole area of campaign finance is a mess." Potter thinks the court is politically naïve, imagining a corruption-free world in which super PACs wouldn't coordinate with candidates and corporate contributions would be disclosed. In his majority opinion, Anthony Kennedy wrote, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force." Now, thanks to Colbert, "no one knows that better than the court itself," writes Lithwick. Read the full column here.

Stephen Colbert arrives at the Cistern on the College of Charleston campus for the Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally at the College of Charleston, Jan. 20, 2012.
Stephen Colbert arrives at the Cistern on the College of Charleston campus for the "Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally" at the College of Charleston, Jan. 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/The Post And Courier, Grace Beahm)
Stephen Colbert sings to the crowd during the Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, Jan. 20, 2012.
Stephen Colbert sings to the crowd during the "Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally" at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, Jan. 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/The Post And Courier, Grace Beahm)
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John Paul Stevens explains to Stephen Colbert that corporations are not human beings.   (Comedy Central)

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