Show caption Trevor Noah: ‘Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans don’t want Roe v Wade to be overturned.’ Photograph: Youtube Late-night TV roundup Trevor Noah on the supreme court leak: ‘A hostile takeover of America’s reproductive rights’ Late-night hosts respond to the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade with a conservative majority Guardian staff Wed 4 May 2022 16.31 BST Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share via Email
Late-night hosts reacted to the leaked supreme court draft decision that would overturn Roe v Wade on Tuesday evening. “It’s important to remember how we got here,” said Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. “Because keep in mind that poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans don’t want Roe v Wade to be overturned. But the GOP didn’t care about that, no. They didn’t care about winning over the people. They just cared about getting enough justices onto the court to get what they want.”
Noah called the draft decision, first published by Politico, a “hostile takeover of America’s reproductive rights” by the five conservative justices: Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas.
To those upset about the Supreme Court leak: sorry this decision to colonize every vagina in America wasn’t given the respect and dignity it deserved. pic.twitter.com/ZcJYibJCfx — The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) May 4, 2022
Alito, who authored the draft opinion, argued that Roe could be overruled because “the inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions”.
“According to this argument, there actually is no fundamental right for women to control their own bodies,” Noah interpreted. “Lawmakers could pass laws giving them that, but that right is not part of this nation’s history and traditions. Which is kinda true. I mean, the history of this nation is that man can control what women do, and that’s what we want to go back to, right?” he joked.
But Roe has been settled precedent for half a century – “you want to talk about history and tradition? I would say that that’s a tradition at this point”, said Noah. “Like if you go without electricity for a weekend, you’re camping. If you go without it for 50 years, you’re Amish, motherfucker. That’s just who you are.”
The court’s “reverse Uno card” of a half century of precedent was chilling and strange; Noah reminded that it wasn’t until the year after Roe v Wade that women got the legal right to have a credit card in their own name without a man. “I think we would all agree that it would be weird if the court was suddenly like ‘if the founders wanted women to have credit cards they would have said so!’”
He also turned previously to outcry in rightwing circles over leak, which was unprecedented for the usually secretive court. “The conservative majority on the court has a fundamental right to choose when they want to release a decision into the world,” he deadpanned. “Imagine having some random person violate your privacy and make that choice for you. Who would do such a thing?”
To those outraged over the leak, he added: “I’m really sorry that this decision to colonize every vagina in America wasn’t given the respect and dignity it deserved.”
“Well, shit,” said Stephen Colbert to open Tuesday’s Late Show. He had planned to discuss the Met Gala’s Gilded Age theme, but “instead I’ve got to talk about another group of out-of-touch people in crazy outfits pretending that its 1895: the supreme court.”
Colbert quoted from Alito’s draft decision, which proposed “an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of common law…
“Because nothing says looking toward the future like adhering to the earliest days of common law,” the host said. “That’s why I believe that life begins at white landowning male and why horses who read should be arrested for witch mischief.”
As for the four other justices in alignment with Alito: “Congratulations ladies, decisions about what you can do with your body are now being made with four old dudes and a woman who thinks The Handmaid’s Tale is a rom-com.”
Alito’s writing in the decision was scathing; he called the 1973 decision “exceptionally weak” and “egregiously wrong from the start”.
“So if these folks believe that Roe v Wade was so egregiously decided, why didn’t they tell the senators that during their confirmation hearings?” Colbert wondered, playing clips in which each conservative justice confirmed Roe was precedent and thus settled law of the land. “Well, because American voters support abortion in all or most cases at 80%. They knew if they were honest they wouldn’t get the job, so they lied. Which I think is perjury, but what do I know? I’m no supreme court justice – I’m not a good enough liar.”