Trevor Noah tore into another outrageous supreme court ruling this week: the 6-3 decision in West Virginia v EPA, which limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. “The supreme court ruled that Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to protect the environment …? So what is their job now? Just to look at the environment and be like ‘oh shit’?” Noah on Thursday night’s Daily Show.
“It’s always weird to me how the news in America frames some of these stories,” he continued, such as calling the ruling a “defeat for the Biden administration”.
“It is a defeat for human life! It has nothing to do with Biden,” said Noah.
Experts believe the logic of the ruling will make it difficult for any agency to pass any regulations without Congress passing a specific law first. “These agencies aren’t perfect, don’t get me wrong, but could you imagine if Congress had to approve, like, vaccines?” he said. “Imagine if you had to wait for them. It would’ve never happened. We’d still all be locked in our houses, clapping out of our windows, because Congress couldn’t convince Marjorie Taylor Greene that needles weren’t actually a space alien conspiracy.”
The ruling only clarified what has been evident from this supreme court term: “From environmental regulations, to abortion, to guns, to school prayer, to voter rights, this is one history of the most radical supreme courts in American,” Noah concluded.
And “they’re also imposing their power on a country that, for the most part, isn’t on board with any of it”.
The most recent supreme court term has “been a real rollercoaster ride, in that I am nauseous and scared we’re all going to die,” said Stephen Colbert on Thursday evening.
He elaborated: “In the last week alone, the justices have weakened the separation of church and state, overturned Roe v Wade, struck down a 109-year-old New York law limiting guns in public and today, they dropped a ruling limiting the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
“What are you thinking, supreme court?” he. “It’s the Environmental. Protection. Agency. If they can’t limit emissions, then the agency can’t protect the environment. They’re going to have to change what the P stands for. Maybe ‘Environmental Punch Dolphins in the Taint Agency.’”
Chief justice John Roberts argued in the majority that while capping carbon emissions would be a solution to “the crisis of the day”, a solution of such magnitude and consequences remains with Congress itself
“Hey! Johnny Bobby! This is an emergency,” Colbert fumed. “You don’t stand on the side of the pool watching somebody drown and say ‘uh, well, actually Mr Lifeguard, you can’t jump in and save him, because I saw you eat less than half an hour ago. There are rules.’”
In a scathing dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “The court appoints itself – instead of Congress or the expert agency – the decision-maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.”
“Really? Have you seen their other decisions?” Colbert responded. “With these maniacs in charge, our only hope is that the smokestacks put on a condom.”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers debriefed another intense week of public January 6 committee hearings. Though he was not optimistic that the hearings would change any hardcore Republicans’ minds, Meyers said he was “hopeful the hearings will influence prosecutors in the justice department, because one area where these hearings have been shockingly successful have been establishing criminal intent and consciousness of guilt among Trump and his gang of pro-coup weirdos”.
Meyers pointed to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pushed Trump to use the military to seize voting machines. In his interview with the committee, Flynn consistently invoked the fifth amendment for “what you would think would be pretty straightforward questions for any non-fascists”.
Flynn refused to answer questions such as: “Do you believe the violence on January 6 was morally justified?” “Do you believe the violence on January 6 was legally legally?” And “Do you believe in the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America?”
“You’re pleading the fifth over a hypothetical that has nothing to do with the law?” Meyers laughed. “The fifth amendment doesn’t work like that. It’s not Family Feud – it doesn’t say you have the right to pass after you buzz in.
“These are just benign hypotheticals,” he continued. “This is like if your spouse said ‘how do you feel about monogamy?’ And your answer was ‘I’m invoking my fifth amendment right not to answer questions about your sister.’ It’s not going to end the conversation.
“That’s how aware these guys were that they were in legal trouble,” he added. “They wouldn’t even answer questions about whether they believe in the peaceful transfer of power.”