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So-called “progressive” members of the left have taken offense to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito championing the cause of freedom and liberty.
On Thursday, the conservative justice delivered a speech in which he specifically warned of how the COVID crisis is being exploited by some to hasten the demonstrable ongoing erosion of civil liberties granted by the U.S. Constitution.
Speaking at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, he focused particularly hard on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty. … [W]e have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced, for most of 2020,” he said.
“Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech — live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings. Think of worship services, churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover on Yom Kippur War.”
In some communities, churches still remain closed because of coronavirus restrictions.
Listen to Alito’s full speech below:
“Think about access to the courts, or the constitutional right to a speedy trial. Trials in federal courts have virtually disappeared in many places. Who could have imagined that the COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test? And in doing so, it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck,” Alito added.
As examples of these “disturbing trends,” he spoke extensively about the demonization, ostracization and discrimination faced by anyone who holds “opposing views,” particularly those motivated by religious principles and beliefs.
He cited the case of Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who faced endless media smears and expensive legal assaults for the supposed crime of refusing to bake a custom cake — versus a regular cake, which he was more than willing to sell — for a gay wedding.
“[C]onsider what a member of the Colorado Human Rights Commission said to Jack Phillips, the owner of the now notorious Masterpiece Cake Shop, when he refused to create a cake celebrating a same sex wedding,” Alitio said.
“She said that freedom of religion had been used, quote, to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history. … For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It’s often just an excuse for bigotry, and it can’t be tolerated, even when there is no evidence that anybody has been harmed.”
Yet in the name of so-called “progress,” hatred for religion is now being used to justify the same bigotry and intolerance against those of faith.
The attacks on freedom of religion, Alito added, go hand in hand with the attacks on freedom of speech, as demonstrated by the growing list of “things you can’t say if you’re a student or professor … or an employee of many big corporations.”
“[T]here wouldn’t be just seven items on that list. Seventy times seven would be closer to the mark. I won’t go down the list, but I’ll mention one that I’ve discussed in a published opinion,” the justice said.
“You can’t say that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry.”
You likewise also can’t question the science behind transgenderism, you can’t argue that men are men and women are women, and you can’t even promote a Christian agenda at a Christian school without facing accusations of bigotry.
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Alito then tied the rise of some of this illiberalism to Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
“That this would happen after our decision in Obergefell should not have come as a surprise. Yes, the opinion of the court included words meant to calm the fears of those who claim to traditional views on marriage. But I could say — and so did the other justices in dissent — where the decision would lead wrote the following,” he said.
“I assume that those who claim to hold beliefs will be able able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes. But if they repeat those words in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers and schools.”
They would in effect be treated with the same discrimination and bigotry that members of the gay community used to face, which suggests Obergefell did nothing more than usher forth an age of reverse discrimination versus an age of no discrimination.
“That is just what is coming to pass. One of the great challenges for the Supreme Court going forward will be to protect freedom of speech,” Alito added.
“Although that freedom is falling out of favor in some circles, we need to do whatever we can to prevent it from becoming a second-tier constitutional right.”
Ironically but unsurprisingly, his staunch defense of the freedom of religion and freedom of speech triggered an intolerant response, with many so-called “progressives” rushing to demand he be impeached for expressing a dissenting opinion.
If Justice Alito would like to be a political pundit that’s fine, but first he should quit his day job. https://t.co/GdwtlI44f6
— David Litt (@davidlitt) November 13, 2020
— ANT® (@antcomic) November 13, 2020
IMPEACH ALITO https://t.co/95bwu9L0Kt
— Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) November 13, 2020
This speech alone is more than enough reason to impeach & remove Alito from the Court. Nobody w/such low regard for human rights & reality-based governance has any right deciding questions of Constitutional rights & law. https://t.co/f2deuKYZHA
— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) November 13, 2020
alito should resign now.
— Some Velvet Jawn (@somevelvetblog) November 13, 2020
He should be impeached for politicization of his Supreme Court appointment. #ImpeachAlito
— TrueBlueAlaskan (@CherylB907) November 14, 2020
The fact he shows up at such a horrible event is impeachable. But his words somehow were even worse. #ImpeachAlito
— Chris Angove (@_chrisangove) November 14, 2020
Alito is effectively untouchable to these complainers — as was the late Supreme Court Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg whenever she chose to be political.
However, the same doesn’t hold true of the millions of Americans who hold dissenting views. For them, just one “offense” could be enough to ruin their lives …
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