Still basking in the glow of his virtual Emmys win a week later, John Oliver shooed the jokes away in favor of delivering a scorched Last Week Tonight segment about the repercussions of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death for the Supreme Court. RBG’s nominated replacement, Amy Coney Barrett, has been described as a Handmaid’s Tale–esque figure owing to her religious and political ideology, which, for Oliver, is nearly as bad as her young age. “Trump is about to replace a liberal icon with an extremely conservative justice who’s been called the female Antonin Scalia, and she can serve for a long time,” he explained. “Amy Coney Barrett is only 48, and I know that I make 43 look like 76, but trust me, that is young for a Supreme Court justice.” Oliver continued, increasingly more irate:
“If, and almost certainly when, Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the impact could be dire. In recent years, key cases have been decided by just one vote — from upholding the Affordable Care Act, to preserving DACA, to striking down an incredibly restrictive abortion law. Should those issues come before the court again, they could now easily go the other way. And there is clearly no point holding on to hope that conservatives might choose to respect they precedent they set by refusing to even consider Merrick Garland in an election year, because that was always in bad faith, as was obvious at the time.”
Oliver didn’t offer any hope, solutions, or spherical distractions as the election approaches, instead offering that the “next” battle will be an ever “longer” one. “Look, this has been a very dark week for lots of people. The Supreme Court is about to lurch to the right for the foreseeable future, and if things seem hopeless right now, it’s because, to be completely honest, they basically are,” he concluded. “We’re at the end of a generational battle, and the heartbreaking this is, we lost. That hurts. It’s going to hurt for a long time for a lot of people in ways that could take a while to fully comprehend.” Well, at least Oliver will be with us until 2023 for whatever happens.