Real Time host Bill Maher blasted Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday for justifying the high court’s decision to eliminate federal campaign contribution limits by saying he did not believe contributing large sums of money was a gateway to political corruption.
“Either he is a liar, or he is too naive to hold any important job, including and especially this one,” Maher said. “This is like a legal ruling written by The Little Mermaid.”
The discussion led to a clash pitting Maher and MSNBC host Alex Wagner, who disagreed with Roberts’ rationale, against former National Republican Congressional Committee head Tom Davis and Forbes columnist Carrie Sheffield, who felt it played out as a First Amendment issue.
“When you look at yourselves and the position you’re arguing here, it is simultaneously, the legacy of the Roberts Court will be allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to gerrymander and jerry-rig the electoral process at the same time that the courts are trying to make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote,” Wagner told Davis and Sheffield. “If that is the side of history you are on, we are in two different worlds.”
“You don’t have to be a pornographer or a flag-burner to get the protections of the First Amendment,” Davis shot back.
“I’m sorry, what does that have to do with having access to the voting booth?” Wagner asked.
Sheffield responded by pointing out that, according to the critically-lauded book Freakonomics, Americans spend the same amount ($1 billion per year) on elections as they do on chewing gum.
“I am okay with spending the same amount to freshen my breath as I am to run our democracy,” Sheffield argued.
“That sheds light on nothing,” Maher said in response. “That has nothing to do with anything.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.