Last Week Tonight has become a surprising place to find real journalism. Who knew that a show in the mold of The Daily Show would bring viewers some of the best investigative journalism in years? In the six months John Oliver and his crew have been on the air, they have managed to both make us laugh and present important stories. On the October 5th show, for example, we were told about civil forfeiture and learned more about it than we ever would on, say, CNN.
On the October 19th show, after an informative and infuriating piece on how we are failing the men who do our translating in Iraq and Afghanistan, Oliver moved on to the “fluff” piece. Fluff being a relative thing, as we’ve found out. This time the subject was the Supreme Court: Did you know that cameras are not allowed in the court? Audio is, though, but audio of legal arguments can be boring. How to make it more interesting … ? Animals, of course! Everyone knows that the Internet loves animal videos. To that end, the LWT crew created the following video:
You may notice that, after the intro music, the video is silent. Why is that? Ah, here’s where it gets fun! Audio from Supreme Court cases can be found at the official SCOTUS website. It’s up to you to blend the two. Take ten minutes of audio from your choice of cases — for example Holt v. Hobbs — and add it to the video. The Justices are “played” by dogs, as are the arguing attorneys (I love the chihuahua as Ruth Bader Ginsburg). You’ll see a duck assistant and a court reporter chicken, too. They are all being cute and/or funny to make things entertaining.
Seriously, we should all be paying attention to the Supreme Court. We’ve seen how the conservative Justices have made decisions that have negatively impacted our country in a myriad of ways. Voting rights and corporate personhood are just two areas in which the right-wing Justices have shown their contempt for the Constitution. Since all we have is audio, we should make sure that we listen to it. This is a good way to do that, all kidding aside. If it takes cute animals, then cute animals it must be.
Last Week Tonight wants to see what you’ve created, so if you choose to make your own SCOTUS animal video, be sure to tag it #RealAnimalsFakePaws so it can be found. You may see yours on a future Last Week Tonight episode. No matter what, you will be making Court cases a lot more fun and more accessible.