Stephen Colbert bemoans Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement: "We are supremely screwed"

"You're only 81!" Colbert begged of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "They say 81 is the new 79"

Published June 28, 2018 9:10AM (EDT)

Stephen Colbert (AP/Chris Pizzello)
Stephen Colbert (AP/Chris Pizzello)

Stephen Colbert bemoaned the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring July 31, allowing President Donald Trump to nominate a second justice to the nation's highest court. "Oh, we are supremely screwed," the late-night host said. Trump's first pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed after Republican senators blocked President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland.

Colbert got right into the news during his opening monologue on the "Late Show," describing it as "a seismic political event." He continued, "Kennedy has been the decisive vote in many cases, and his retirement gives Trump the opportunity to fundamentally change the Supreme Court."

"And I would not trust Trump to fundamentally change the dessert course," Colbert added.

"I never thought I'd say this, but you're only 81!" he begged. "They say 81 is the new 79. And don't tell me your mind's going, 'cause I read Bush v. Gore and Citizens United — you never had one."

The Supreme Court has already delivered some devastating blows recently to working people and to people of color, and Colbert pointed out that Trump getting a second pick "could have huge repercussions."

"The court that just this week crippled unions, upheld Trump’s Muslim ban and racist gerrymandering, might turn conservative," he said.

Colbert read Justice Kennedy's letter of resignation to the president, which said he would officially step down on July 31. "Enjoy your gay marriages now, because as of August 1st, you’re back to being roommates," Colbert said. Kennedy penned the majority opinion in the landmark 2016 Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized same sex marriage in all 50 states.

"This could happen fast," the "Late Show" host added. "Reportedly, the White House will push for a nomination and confirmation before the midterms. Well, of course before the midterms! Just like you want to eat all the weed before the cop walks up to the driver-side window."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also said that the Senate will confirm Trump's nominee before the midterm elections this fall. He said Wednesday, "It's imperative that the president's nominee be treated fairly." However, it was McConnell and Republican senators who argued that the Senate should not vote on Obama's nominee in 2016 because it was an election year.

Colbert speculated who Trump might nominate. "I could see Trump appointing [Rudy] Giuliani just to keep him off television," he said.

Colbert also highlighted the federal judge's order for the Trump administration to reunite migrant families, which gave the audience something to cheer about.

"I applaud this judge for this ruling," Colbert added. "But it's a little sad that this is what counts as good news. Good news used to be 'we got Bin Laden.' Now it's, 'we got Trump to release the kidnapped children and there's a chance he might do it.'"

The judge called the family separation policy "a chaotic circumstance of the Government's own making" and instructed that children under five be returned to their parents within 14 days and older children within 30.

However, there's a problem. Citing an NPR report, Colbert explained that there is "no formal process or clear protocol for tracking parents and children." He added, "What? You took them away and you can't even track children? Dominoes can track my pizza. Let's have Dominoes do it."

"We'll just order all of these kids a large meat lovers and the parents can then find their children," Colbert suggested. "I've got the perfect slogan: 'You'll get your child back in 30 minutes, or you're free.'"

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