Last night, Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito delivered a virtual speech at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. The Federalist Society, of course, is the pipeline for right-wing justices that spread like a virus during the Trump administration (and the George W. Bush administration before it).
After going through yet another confirmation hearing where a nominee avoided saying anything interesting because it might be held against her, it was jarring to hear Alito deliver a rant denouncing everything from marriage equality to laws prohibiting discrimination.
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern summarized the faith aspect of the talk:
Alito also warned of a broader, ongoing assault on religious liberty. “In certain corners,” he alleged, “religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” Alito condemned the Obama administration’s “ protracted campaign” and “unrelenting attack” against the Little Sisters of the Poor, which refused to submit a form to the federal government opting out of the contraceptive mandate. The group alleged that submitting this notice burdened its religious exercise. Alito also disparaged Washington state for requiring pharmacies to provide emergency contraception — which, he claimed, “destroys an embryo after fertilization.” (That is false.) Finally, Alito rebuked Colorado for attempting to compel Jack Phillips to bake a cake for a same-sex couple.* He noted that the couple was given a free cake and supported by “celebrity chefs.”
In no world is religion hindered by rules that apply to everyone. The Little Sisters of the Poor refused to fill out paperwork; they felt it was a burden. Pharmacists have no business sticking their religion in between a woman and her doctor. If they can’t do their job, they should find new careers. Same with bakers who refuse to sell gay couples the same items they make available to straight couples.
This isn’t news to readers of this site, I know, but what “religious liberty” represents to Alito is government-sanctioned bigotry in the name of religion. No one has ever told church leaders what they can or can’t believe about LGBTQ people or abortion. No one is making priests perform same-sex ceremonies against their will. These battles have always been about taxpayer dollars funding faith or religion people demanding special rights despite being in the public square.
What’s frightening is that Alito is now in a conservative super-majority on the Court and he has the power to allow religious people before him to push their faith on others no matter how much harm it causes. Even right now, during a pandemic, Alito suggested in no uncertain terms that COVID restrictions that limit the number of people inside a church go too far.
Simply put, if Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave a speech like this declaring her positions on any number of “liberal” issues, the FOX News crowd would demand she recuse herself from all such cases in the future, saying she’s clearly biased. They will never say that about Alito because conservatives have hypocrisy built into their worldview.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)