As watchdog citizens of this great nation well know, the Supreme Court is camera-shy. Since 1946, the Court has maintained that televising—or even photographing—the Justices at work might, as Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated in 2006, “have an adverse impact” on the proceedings. So, to C-SPAN’s undying frustration, the hallowed institution refuses to have television cameras inside the nation’s highest court, forcing Americans to rely on audio recordings, transcripts, and the media’s sketch artists to understand how some of our country’s most important issues are being decided.
Sunday night on HBO, John Oliver conceded that hypothetical television coverage of the Court would likely veer towards 15-second snippets that wouldn’t necessarily reflect the complex issues at stake, a concern expressed by Justice Antonin Scalia. But Oliver has an idea that would spice up the Supreme Court; make it even go viral, perhaps.
No more Ken Burns Effected courtroom artists’ sketchings. Instead, Oliver and his team provided raw footage of the nine Supreme Court justices—with an adorable dog playing each justice, that is. Suddenly Holt v. Hobbs—whatever that is—got a lot more interesting.
Oliver put more than 10 minutes of silent #PuppyJustice reenactment footage online, and invited the media to use it for their next Supreme Court segment. Enthusiastic viewers have already accepted Oliver’s challenge and begun to cut their own segments.