Gavel Grab

Justices Resist Cameras but are Grist for Late-Night TV

The Supreme Court has become “fodder for late-night comedians,” according to a Washington Post article, despite the justices keeping TV cameras out of their courtroom.

Whether it’s due to the court’s seizing the limelight as it takes up a trio of especially hot cases this election year, or to the biting satire of comedian and Super PAC founder Stephen Colbert, the “Supreme Court justices are being served on late-night television,” declared the headline for Robert Barnes’ article.

Barnes highlights how some of the satire draws on the kind of hypothetical questions a judge may ask to explore a lawyer’s argument. In turn, it’s exactly that featuring “out of context” of a justice’s quote or question that some members of the court have cited in opposing televising of oral arguments, Barnes notes.

At least two retired justices have even consented to interviews with late-night comedy hosts. When retired Justice John Paul Stevens was badgered by Colbert during a recent interview, Colbert asked whether Justice Stevens had any regrets in his career, and the 91-year-old jurist answered, “Other than doing this interview? No.”

In other media coverage about the high court, an Associated Press article was headlined, “Justice Ginsburg suggests high court mistimed milestone Roe-Wade ruling on abortion.”

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Eric J. Segall, a law professor at Georgia State University, urged that Justice Elena Kagan explain publicly why she declined calls to step aside from hearing arguments in the federal health care case. She is a former U.S. solicitor general.

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