There are many great things about John Oliver's Last Week Tonight Show, but one of the best is the way he tackles topics in an in-depth and hilarious way that really illuminates aspects of society many Americans probably don't know too much about.
This week was no different as Oliver broke down the subject of judicial elections for Last Week Tonight viewers. The segment was inspired by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who made national news this month for ordering state judges to not issue same-sex marriage licenses after a federal court ruled that the state would have to provide them. Whether or not you disagree with Moore's stance on this topic, it's always good to know how judges get to their posts in the first place.
Yes, in addition to presidents and senators, American citizens in 39 states vote for judges as well. For some reason, the United States and Bolivia are like the only two countries that do this sort of thing. Who Knew?
While judicial elections may have started out as a reform measure for greater public accountability, as a clip from Alicia Bannon, the counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, shows, now they are pretty much like every other political election. Crazy commercials featuring country music and a judge's son actually named Justus (get it, JUSTICE)? Check. Attack ads that terrify you more than they should? Yup. Changes in the judges' sentencing during an election year? You bet. There's even a great effort to collect campaign donations from lawyers and potential future defendants among some candidates.
Well, now we know.
Check out the full clip below, and you'll see why a tip jar and winking emoji face may be appropriate alterations to our image of Lady Justice.