You know you’re in trouble when you’re openly mocked in the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s what happened to General Motors this morning during oral arguments in a campaign finance case that has nothing to do with the troubled Detroit company.
The joker in question was prominent Republican lawyer Ted Olson, who was arguing on behalf of a fairly obscure conservative group called Citizens United. It doesn’t like campaign finance regulations that limit its ability to show a movie that says nasty things about Hillary Clinton.
At one point, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, in attempting to draw a distinction between groups like Citizens United and larger organizations with more financial firepower, invoked General Motors.
“Well,” said Olson without missing a beat. “General Motors may be smaller than the client we are representing.”
As the court’s transcript notes, what follows was:
Several of the justices appeared amused at the quip, although Breyer was all business.
“I want to get an answer to the question,” he said.