Justice Stevens on Colbert Report: Great Interview or the Greatest Interview?

January 20, 2012

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.”


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