Stephen Colbert

  • February 22, 2012
    Humor

    by John Schachter

    “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts,” Will Rogers famously retorted. In 2012, his aphorism applies to all the branches.

    This week’s satirical news source the Onion ran a story with the headline, “Disturbed Beltway Sources Report Congress Eerily Cooperative Today.” Among the highlights of the piece:

    “I don't know what's going on here, but I know I don't like it,” said Time political columnist Joe Klein, who watched C-SPAN in disturbed shock as the Senate proceeded quickly and smoothly on a federal judicial confirmation. “Something's off. Something is definitely off. It's almost as if lawmakers are putting the well-being of the country above their own self interest and hard-line party ideology.”

    “This can't be good for America,” he added.

    Who would have thought that the judicial nominations logjam would become fodder for political satirists? Unfortunately, the vacancy crisis is more than a laughing matter, with scores of unfilled seats on benches across the country limiting the access to justice that many Americans need and deserve. It truly is time for members of Congress to become more “eerily cooperative” and provide up-or-down votes on the many nominees awaiting action.

  • January 20, 2012
    Humor

    by John Schachter

    Stephen Colbert gave new meaning to “Justice delayed is justice denied” when he interviewed a surprisingly game former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Colbert apparently didn’t realize (wink, wink) that Stevens had retired from the high court but reluctantly forges ahead with the interview nonetheless.

    The meat of the interview was a discussion of the court’s controversial Citizens United decision, coming up on its two-year anniversary. While Colbert insisted that corporations are exactly like people and deserving of all the same rights, Stevens parried quite effectively. “As with natural persons as well as corporate persons, some have different rights than others do,” Stevens explained. “The same rights don’t apply to everyone in every possible situation.”

    At 91 years, Stevens makes 90-years old Hollywood star Betty White seem old by comparison. His quick wit and sharp legal mind were on full display during the nearly 7-minute interview. The highlight? Colbert asked Stevens if there were any decisions he made that he later regretted. Said Stevens in response, “Other than this interview? I don’t think so.”

  • July 28, 2011
    Humor

    Georgetown University law professor Peter Edelman, a member of the ACS board of directors, recently appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report to discuss America’s continuing struggle with poverty.  

    Edelman worked as a legislative aide for Senator Robert F. Kennedy and resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration in protest of the administration’s welfare reform plan.  Following an exchange about Xboxes (yes, Xboxes), Edelman responded to Colbert’s barbs about the invisibility of poverty by stating:

    There are six million people in this country whose only income is food stamps. Only income is food stamps, which is, for that family you were talking about, about 25% of the poverty line. And that’s all they have … The fact is, food stamps right now are really helping people in this country. We have 44 million people in the middle of this recession that are getting that help, and I’m glad we do.

     

       
    "Poor" in America - Peter Edelman
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  • March 16, 2011
    Humor

    As ACSblog has documented, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert has devoted time and attention to constitutional rights over the years.

    Yesterday, he crammed all his best moments of constitutional reverence into a half-hour montage on some of our Constitution's most important amendments.

    On the Second Amendment, he rejoices, "I can get my 9mm faster than my size nines from Zappos."

    On the First Amendment: "Someone who makes $12,000 a year simply does not need air conditioning, a moon roof or freedom of speech. After all, they'll probably just use it to complain."

    And in a segment on the Fourteenth Amendment, commenting on a clip explaining that "we had no immigration law" in 1868, Colbert adds, "If there was immigration law, the Indians could have had us deported."

    Watch all of the clips here. And don't miss out on Colbert's special tribute to the amendment to which he has perhaps devoted the most air time: the 21st.

  • September 16, 2009

    On September 9, 2009, the Supreme Court re-heard oral argument in Citizens United v. FEC. Brenda Wright, of Demos, The narrow question originally presented by the case was whether an on-demand video showing of an anti-Hillary Clinton documentary during the 2008 election could be regulated as a political advertisement under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) because the sponsor -- a conservative non-profit group called Citizens United -- wanted to use for-profit corporate funds to help pay for the airing. That narrow question has been virtually obliterated by the Court's order at the end of last Term inviting briefing on whether Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. FEC should be overruled. " summarized the issues in the case as follows: 

    The narrow question originally presented by the case was whether an on-demand video showing of an anti-Hillary Clinton documentary during the 2008 election could be regulated as a political advertisement under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) because the sponsor -- a conservative non-profit group called Citizens United -- wanted to use for-profit corporate funds to help pay for the airing. That narrow question has been virtually obliterated by the Court's order at the end of last Term inviting briefing on whether Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. FEC should be overruled.  

    "Corporations have free speech, but they can't speak like you and me," Stephen Colbert explains in the video below, implicitly arguing in favor of reversing Austin and McConnell.  "They don't have mouths or hands. Instead, ... they must speak in the only way they can: through billions and billions of dollars."

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