After news of Antonin Scalia’s death broke on Saturday (Feb. 13), politicians quickly realized that Scalia would need to be replaced. As luck would have it, political comedian John Oliver returned with his late-night show “Last Week Tonight” after a three-month hiatus on Sunday, and he had a lot to say on the topic of Scalia’s replacement.
Oliver notes that Democrats rejoiced at the news that Obama would be allowed another liberal Supreme Court Justice appointment, while Republicans immediately called for a delay of the replacement, mandating that the next president (hopefully one of their party’s candidates) should be the one to make the choice.
Oliver’s sketch focuses primarily on Senator Mitch McConnell’s vocal support for delaying Obama’s constitutional responsibility to name a new Supreme Court Justice, and the possible hypocritical pitfalls of that opinion.
After all, the Strom Thurmond Rule that is the basis for MConnell’s argument to delay is something he was categorically opposed to when it was being used to block Republican nominations during the George W. Bush years.
“It seems the Thurmond Rule is a bit like God. When things are going your way, you don’t bring it up a lot, but as soon as you’re in trouble, it is all that you talk about,” jokes Oliver.
Another ironic aspect of the situation that Oliver can’t help but point out is the fact that to delay Scalia’s replacement would require a huge stretch of constitutional law and interpretation, while Scalia himself was famous for his very literal interpretation of the Constitution.
“To Senate Republicans, I say this: If you really loved Antonin Scalia, you wouldn’t honor his memory by desecrating the thing he loved the most.”