Colbert Super PAC - John Paul Stevens

  • Aired:  01/19/12
  •  | Views: 99,349

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens expounds on his dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United. (6:49)

HOWEVER GOOD HER INTENTIONS.

FOLKS, I AM HURT THAT JON

STEWART'S SUPERPAC ATTACKED

ME.

BUT I DEFEND THEIR RIGHT TO

DO SO.

IN FACT, I HAVE DEFENDED IT

TO THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

JOHN PAUL STEVENS.

A GIANT OF AMERICAN

JURISPRUDENCE, THE AUTHOR OF

THE DEFENDING OPINIONS IN

BOTH BUSH V GORE AND

CITIZENED UNITED, THE

DECISION THAT LEAD TO THE

FORMATION OF SUPERPACS.

I RECENTLY OUTLEGALLED

JUSTICE STEPHENS IN MY

WASHINGTON OFFICE.

>> JUSTICE

STEPHENS-- STEVENS THANK YOU

FOR TALKING TO ME TODAY.

>> HAPPY TO BE HERE.

>> Stephen: SU HAVE BEEN

SERVING ON THE COURT NONSTOP

I BELIEVE SINCE 1995.

>> AS YOU MAY KNOW I AM

ACTUALLY RETIRED.

>> SOOREE, WHAT.

>> I'M A RETIRED JUSTICE.

>> Stephen: CAN WE GETS ONE

OF THE REAL SUPREME COURT

GUYS.

I DON'T CARE IF THEY ARE IN

SESSION.

JUST GET ME ONE OF THEM,

THEY GOT LIKE FIVE OF THEM,

NINE?

>> THEY'RE VERY BUSY.

>> Stephen: SO NO I CAN'T

HAVE ANYONE ELSE.

OKAY.

SORRY ABOUT THAT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

OKAY SO, YOU RETIRED FROM

THE COURT IN-- SORRY, WHEN.

>> A YEAR AGO JUNE.

>> Stephen: WHAT PART OF

LIFETIME APPOINTMENT DON'T

YOU GET, SIR.

YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GO YOUR

ENTIRE LIFETIME.

I DON'T WANT TO YOU TAKE

THIS THE WRONG WAY, YOU

SOUND LIKE A QUITTER.

>> I AM, I AM I ACQUITTER.

AFTER 37 YEARS YOU ARE

ENTITLED TO QUIT.

>> Stephen: OH, OKAY, SURE,

AT 90, I DON'T WANT TO WORK

EVERY DAY, THAT'S THE

MESSAGE TO KIDS.

>> NASS'S THE MESSAGE.

>> Stephen: OKAY, YOU WONDER

WHY THE CHINESE ARE GETTING

AHEAD.

>> I WOULDN'T SAY THAT.

>> Stephen: WHAT QUALITIES

DOES A CASE HAVE TO HAVE TO

BE HEARD BY THE SUPREME

COURT.

>> THE MOST IMPORTANT

QUALITY IS IT HAS TO

CONVINCE FOUR JUSTICES IT'S

WORTHY OF BEING HEARD.

>> Stephen: I HAVE AN

ARGUMENT AS TO WHY I

SHOULDN'T GET THIS-- YOU CAN

HELP ME OUT WITH THIS.

>> WELL, SURE, I'LL LISTEN

YOUR ARGUMENT.

>> Stephen: OKAY, I WAS

GOING 90 IN THE-- ZONE AND I

WAS DRUNK.

I HAD TO GET OUT OF THAT

NEIGHBORHOOD FAST.

YOUR HONOR, I REST MY CASE.

>> YOU'RE GUILTY

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: DOES THAT FEEL

GOOD.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: IT'S BEEN AWHILE,

RIGHT.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: LET'S GET TO THE

HEAT OF THE MEAT HERE, WE.

BUSH V GORE.

GREAT SUPREME COURT DECISION,

OR THE GREATEST SUPREME

COURT DECISION.

>> NEITHER.

>> Stephen: IT IS GREAT OR

GREATEST.

>> NEITHER.

>> Stephen: I WILL PUT YOU

DOWN FOR GREAT.

YOU OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T THINK

IT IS THE GREATEST, BUSH V

GORE, GREAT DECISION, JOHN

PAUL STEVENS.

JUST FOR FUN, --

>> I WOULD SAY YOU PROBABLY

BETTER BUY ANOTHER COMPUTER.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU GOING TO

YELL AT ME THROUGH THE

ENTIRE INTERVIEW.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

LET'S MOVE ON.

YOU HAVE GOT A NEW BOOK HERE

CALLED FIVE CHIEFS.

>> CORRECT.

>> Stephen: THE SUPREME

COURT MEMOIR.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WERE YOU UP SET

YOU WERE NEVER ONE OF THE

CHIEFS.

>> I WAS ACTING CHIEF FOR A

WHILE.

>> I NEVER WENT THAT FAR.

>> Stephen: THE BASKETBALL

COURT JUST ABOVE THE COURT

BUILDING.

>> IT IS REFERRED TO AS THE

HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND.

>> Stephen: WHO IN ALL YOUR

YEARS REALLY BROUGHT THE

ROCK TO THE RIM, WHO WAS

DANGEROUS IN THE PAINT.

>> WHO WAS DANGEROUS ON THE

BASKETBALL COURT.

>> Stephen: YES, WHO BROUGHT

THE WALNUTS TO THE JAM HOOP.

>> THAT WAS BYRON WHITE.

>> Stephen: CODUNK.

>> HE COULD DUNK,

ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: WILLIAM REHNQUIST

FAMOUSLY PUT STRIPES ON HIS

ROBE.

WERE YOU EVER TEMPTED TO

SORT OF-- YOUR LOOK.

>> I DON'T KNOW WHAT-- .

>> Stephen: LIKE THIS?

>> I DON'T THINK SO.

>> Stephen: LET'S SHIFT

GEARS.

>> SURE.

>> Stephen: YOU WROTE THE

DISSENTING OPINION IN

CITIZENS UNITED, CORRECT.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WHAT DID IT IS A,

TELL ME WHAT YOU WROTE.

>> WELL, I SUPPOSE ONE OF

THE BRIEFEST THINGS ONE

COULD SAY IS IT CHANGED THE

LAWS OF MANAGEMENT IN MADE

CORPORATIONS MUCH MORE

LEEWAY IN SPENDING MONEY IN

ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNS THEN

THEY HAD IN THE PAST.

>> Stephen: WE ALL KNOW IT

IS A LONG ESTABLISHED LAW

THAT CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE,

TRUE.

>> FOR SOME PURPOSES,

CORPORATIONS ARE PERSONS.

>> Stephen: SHOULD A PERSON

BE DENIED THEIR LIGHTS.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: OKAY, SO IF A

PERSON SHOULD NOT BE DENIED

THEIR RIGHTS AND A

CORPORATION IS A PERSON,

SHOULDN'T CORPORATIONS HAVE

EVERY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT

THAT YOU HAVE.

>> NO, NOT NECESSARILY.

>> Stephen: CHECKMATE, WHEN

I CHECKMATE SOMEONE I LIKE

TO SAY IT.

>> OKAY.

AND I WOULD SAY YOU

OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT HE

I MOVED MY BISHOP AND TAKE

YOUR KING.

>> Stephen: OKAY WHAT IS

YOUR BISHOP.

>> MY BISHOP IS THAT THERE

ARE NATURAL PERSONS AND

CORPORATE PERSIAN SOME HAVE

DIFFERENT RIGHTS THAN OTHERS

DO.

THE SAME RIGHTS DON'T APPLY

TO EVERYONE IN EVERY

POSSIBLE SITUATION.

>> Stephen: BUT HERE'S THE

THING, WHAT-- NATURAL

PERSONS VERSUS CORPORATE

PERSONS.

>> THAT'S MAKING A

DISTINCTION THAT IT

HUMANIZES THE CORPORATION.

>> YOU DON'T SUGGEST THAT

CORPORATIONS CAN DO

EVERYTHING THAT PERSONS CAN

DO.

>> Stephen: THEY CAN.

THERE IS NOTHING I WOULD

DENY THEM THAT THEY WANTED

TO DO.

>> I DON'T KNOW HOW A

CORPORATE PERSON WOULD DRINK

A GLASS OF WATER, FOR

EXAMPLE.

>> Stephen: WELL, THEY CAN

CONSUME WATER IN THEIR OWN

WAY.

A CORPORATION MAKES NUCLEAR

REACTORS, CONSUMES A GREAT

DEAL OF WATER.

HOW THEY DIGEST THAT WATT

CERTIFICATE DIFFERENT FROM

YOURS BUT YOU DON'T HAVE IF

I RIGHT TO JUDGE THE WAY

THAT THEY DO.

>> I THINK THEY DO.

>> Stephen: WHY.

BECAUSE YOU ARE A SUPREME

COURT JUSTICE.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: OKAY, FANTASTIC.

>> AND JURISDICTION OVER-- .

>> Stephen: ARE YOU A

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, I'M

NOT.

THAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO

JUDGE THINGS.

THAT'S VERY CONVENIENT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: VERY CONVENIENT.

>> AS PART OF YOUR

COMMISSION YOU HAVE TO DO

SOME SDWRUJING.

>> Stephen: LAST QUESTION,.

>> SURE.

>> Stephen: ARE THERE ANY

DECISIONS YOU MADE THAT YOU

LATER REGRETTED.

>> OTHER THAN THIS INTERVIEW?

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: YES.

>> I DON'T THINK SO.

>> Stephen: JUSTICE STEVEN,

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

TALKING TO ME TODAY.

>> I'VE ENJOYED IT.

THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE GOOD

PEOPLE.

NOT A CORPORATION BUT STILL

GOOD PEOPLE.

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