The late-night hosts summarized oral arguments for the U.S. Supreme Court case over whether or not Colorado can remove Donald Trump from its ballot, citing the constitution’s insurrection clause. “This is a historic and monumental case,” Stephen Colbert said on Thursday’s Late Show. In fact, it was such a big deal that people lined up for hours beforehand just to get seats in the viewing gallery. “Though there was evidently a guy right in line to receive an Apple Vision Pro,” Colbert joked.
Arguing Trump’s case is former Texas Attorney General Jonathan Mitchell, who has a reputation as a tough litigator. As a former colleague told Politico: “He has a strong belief in what he believes is the law.”
“Actually, that’s not the best compliment you could give,” Colbert mused, comparing it to someone saying, “Oh, yeah, this guy is a great surgeon. He will definitely remove what he believes to be his appendix.”
In their written arguments, Trump’s lawyers pinned their hopes primarily on semantics. For example, Mitchell claims that the Constitution’s insurrection clause applies only to people who took an oath to “support the Constitution,” but presidents swear to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, without the word “support.”
“Now I’m not a lawyer, but I wear a suit professionally,” Colbert said. “So I feel qualified to say that’s nonsense. It’s like saying, “Honey, I know I swore till death do us part, but we never said whose death it is.” And I personally think that fucking my pilates instructor is what Queen Elizabeth would have wanted.’”
The same attorneys also argued that the 14th Amendment says people who participated in an insurrection cannot “hold” office, but it does not prevent them from running for office. “But the whole point of running for office is to hold office!” -Colbert exclaimed-. “Unless you’re Nikki Haley, we’re not sure what her point is.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers also discussed the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, where it appeared that a majority of the justices supported Trump and were skeptical of the decision to remove him from the ballot in Colorado. “Which is to be expected,” Meyers said, “given that Trump appointed three of the court’s justices and three others are staunch conservatives like Clarence Thomas, who is somehow still involved in this case even though his wife Ginni Thomas played an important role. in the coup attempt of January 6.”
Ginni Thomas personally pleaded with electors to change their votes and sent a text message to Trump’s chief of staff at the time, Mark Meadows, urging him to overturn the results.
“Not only should Clarence Thomas recuse himself from this case, but Ginni Thomas should recuse himself from texting on the phone,” Meyers said.
As for the hearing itself, “for the most part, the court avoided getting into the actual facts of what happened on January 6,” Meyers explained, “and the justices did not seem especially interested in litigating the question of whether Trump had actually participated in an insurrection, although at one point Trump’s lawyer admitted something quite revealing.
That would mean the events of Jan. 6 were violent, criminal and wrong: “this was a riot,” Mitchell said. “It was not an insurrection. The events were shameful, criminal, violent, all those things, but they do not qualify as an insurrection.”
“Something tells me that Trump won’t exactly be thrilled with that argument,” Meyers said. “It doesn’t really fit on a baseball cap: ‘shameful, criminal, violent, but still electable!’”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel found flaws in Trump’s legal defense. “Here are his two main lines of defense: number one, it was not an insurrection. And number two, I did not cause the insurrection,” he explained.
In a speech to the audience, Trump blamed the attempted insurrection on Nancy Pelosi. “That’s right, Nancy Pelosi hatched a secret plot to have a bunch of Maga morons break into her office and shit on her desk,” Kimmel deadpanned.
Trump also claimed that the mob stormed the Capitol on January 6 “peacefully and patriotically”; “Yes, and then his followers tried to peacefully and patriotically kill the vice president of the United States,” Kimmel said.
In other news, Ted Cruz proposed legislation that would allow lawmakers to obtain a private security escort and speed up screening at airports. “I look like someone just booked an all-inclusive snorkeling trip to Sandals,” Kimmel laughed.
Cruz argued that there are serious security threats facing public officials, “like people getting photos of you fleeing your state during a big power outage so the sun hits your big ol’ nipples, that kind of thing,” Kimmel joked. “I think Ted Cruz is worried that someone will take a photo of him taking off his shoes at security and everyone will find out he has hooves.
“It’s cool that the guy who’s always yelling about people sneaking across the border doesn’t want us to know when he’s sneaking across the border,” he added.