John Oliver and his staff at Last Week Tonight have found a way to make those formerly unwatchable Supreme Court reenactments fun.
John Oliver noted on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" that the Supreme Court's term that began earlier this month would be one to watch.
"Unfortunately, we won't actually be able to watch any of it because the Supreme Court does not allow cameras during oral argument," Oliver said.
Oliver then played a clip of Justice Antonin Scalia saying that he was opposed to the presence of cameras because Americans would only see 15-30 second snippets of argument, which he didn't think would accurately characterize what the Supreme Court does.
"You know, he might be right about that," Oliver said. "Television can be very irresponsible, which is why you never want to, for instance, do an interview in front of a blue screen because someone might then superimpose a creepy orgy behind you because that's the sort of terrible thing that television can do."
"There aren't any cameras, but they do release audio recordings of their arguments so TV does play 15 second clips of the Supreme Court," he continued.
Oliver said audio from the Supreme Court is usually played over video of court illustrations, rendering any coverage unwatchable. He suggested the court take its cue from a clip of a cat playing the piano.
"Think about it," Oliver said. "If someone made you just listen to the audio of that, you would punch them repeatedly in the face. But the visual makes it irresistible. Why? Because a cat's paws are doing things you wouldn't expect them to do. And if it works for shitty piano music it can work for the Supreme Court."
He then offered his own solution to the camera ban: play the audio from arguments with footage of "an entire Supreme Court featuring real animals with fake paws."
Here's their Scalia:
Oliver encourages his viewers to use their footage to make their own reenactments as well:
Cameras aren’t allowed in the Supreme Court, so most coverage of our most important cases looks like garbage. We fixed that problem with real animals and fake paws. Feel free to take our footage and reenact cases on your own.
Tag them with #RealAnimalsFakePaws so we can find them.
Audio from Supreme Court cases available at: Argument Audio.
I look forward to seeing the submissions.