9:16am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
John Oliver Calls Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote "Borderline Pathological"
John Oliver shared his take on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation and the dramatic week leading up to it on Sunday's episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight.
The Senate voted 50-48 on Saturday for Kavanaugh to fill the seat left by former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired earlier this year.
"His confirmation was all but guaranteed the moment that Susan Collins announced that she was voting yes, a decision described disgustingly by The Wall Street Journal op-ed page as 'Susan Collins Consents,'" said Oliver. "Which is the single, most grossly inappropriate headline since 1963's 'Kennedy Blows His Top.'"
Oliver commented on President Donald Trump's mocking of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford and his comment that "this is a very difficult time" for young men in America. "Is it though?" asked the host. "This seems like a way less scary time in for young men in America than for old men in America."
Oliver then showed a photo of a young boy and an older man together. "For the two people in this picture, Timmy is currently getting a lot of useful information about what sexual assault is and how not to commit it as he prepares to navigate the rocky waters with puberty," he said. "While grandpa is just stuck with all these sexual assaults he's already committed.
"What became painfully clear this week, no step in this process had a chance of altering Republicans vote," Oliver continued. "Not Blasey Ford's testimony, not the wildly inaccurate FBI investigation, not a letter signed by 2,400 law professors saying they oppose his appointment. Not even retired Justice [John Paul] Stevens arguing that after watching Kavanaugh's testimony, he no longer felt that he was fit to serve on the court.
"Perhaps no one embodied the Republican party's indifference better than Orrin Hatch, who was confronted by a group of protestors on Capitol Hill and reacted like this," Oliver said before showing a clip of Hatch condescendingly waving to the women. "Wow. Even setting aside the spectacular condescension of telling adult women to 'grow up,' that wave is a pretty clear 'fuck you.' I believe that wave is what they call a Utah middle finger."
Oliver criticized the entire process as "an utterly shameless commitment to bad-faith arguments." The host shared that Sen. Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of being obstructionists during the hearing, which Oliver pointed out is "hard to take" because McConnell previously called blocking Merritt Garland from being confirmed into the Supreme Court "one of my proudest moments."
A clip of Sen. Chuck Grassley stating that billionaire George Soros was behind the protestors yelling at Jeff Flake in the elevator at the end of September was then shared. "George Soros isn't paying people to yell at Jeff Flake in an elevator. It's completely unnecessary," said Oliver. "People will happily do that for free. In fact, people would pay to yell at Jeff Flake in an elevator. If Disney World had a ride called 'Yell at Jeff Flake in an Elevator,' the line would be longer than Space fucking Mountain."
The host also said that Collins' vote in favor of Kavanaugh should not be a surprise to anyone. "She disappoints at a rate normally associated with dinners cooked by divorced dads," said Oliver. "Collins engaged in some spectacular bad-faith bullshit because in announcing her 'yes' vote, she waxed indignant about the dark money that she felt had corrupted this process."
After sharing a clip of Collins stating that dark money interfered with the hearing, Oliver responded, "There was a lot of dark money in this process. An estimated $9 million was spent on TV ads surrounding the nomination, but the vast majority of that — around $7 million — was spent in support of Kavanaugh and more than half of that $7 million came from just one group — the right-winged Judicial Crisis Network."
An ad from the organization featured five women stating that Kavanaugh never assaulted Ford and a voiceover message, "It never happened."
"Wow," Oliver said in response to the ad before criticizing it for its misleading visuals. "The reason that they can be so sure is that they have five whole women saying that they support Kavanaugh, except not really because it turns out that this woman and this woman are actually the same person," he said as he pointed to the advertisement. "Which is weird, because why stop there? Why not make it look like 50 women are voting for Brett Kavanaugh, or 50,000?
"This entire process wasn't about principle. It was just about getting what you want no matter how you have to do it or what damage it does to Dr. Ford, to other survivors or to our fundamental trust in the Supreme Court," said Oliver. "It was borderline pathological, which naturally brings us back to the president."
Oliver noted that Trump recently criticized former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken for quickly resigning after being accused of sexual misconduct. "What exactly are you making fun of there?" asked the host. "'Oh, oh. I did something wrong. I got caught. So now I have to leave.' Yes. That's how it's supposed to go.
"Trump has gotten away with so much in his life for so long that he mocks the very idea of accountability," he added.
Oliver concluded the segment by encouraging his viewers to vote in the upcoming election. "While [the results are] by no means a foregone conclusion, it is the only chance that we have to look at some of these people straight in the eye and say goodbye," he said.