Alito Calls Pandemic ‘Constitutional Stress Test’ In Provocative Speech
“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said during remarks to the Federalist Society in which he also discussed religious freedom and gay rights.
Alito's Politically Charged Address Draws Heat
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered an unusually inflammatory public speech Thursday night, starkly warning about the threats he contends religious believers face from advocates for gay and abortion rights, as well as public officials responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to a virtual conference of conservative lawyers, the George W. Bush appointee made no direct comment on the recent election, the political crisis relating to President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat or litigation on the issue pending at the Supreme Court. (Gerstein, 11/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
Justice Alito Responds To Liberal Critics, Says Covid-19 Is ‘Constitutional Stress Test’
Justice Samuel Alito fired back at liberal critics of the Supreme Court on Thursday, calling a 2019 brief filed by five Democratic senators “an affront to the Constitution and the rule of law” for suggesting that the court is a “sick institution” that may need to be “restructured.” “Let’s go back to some basics: the Supreme Court was created by the Constitution, not by Congress, and under the Constitution we exercise the judicial power of the United States,” Justice Alito said in remarks to the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention. The society is a conservative lawyers network whose members—including former White House counsel Don McGahn—have dominated judicial appointments and legal policy during the Trump administration. (Bravin, 11/13)
Justice Alito: COVID Restrictions 'Previously Unimaginable'
Alito was particularly critical of two cases earlier this year where the court sided with states that, citing the coronavirus pandemic, imposed restrictions on the size of religious gatherings. In both cases, the court divided 5-4 in allowing those restrictions to continue with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s liberals. In May, the high court rejected an emergency appeal by a California church challenging attendance limits at worship services. The justices turned away a similar challenge by a Nevada church in July. Alito said in both cases the restrictions had “blatantly discriminated against houses of worship” and he warned that “religious liberty is in danger of becoming a second-class right.” (Gresko, 11/13)
The Washington Post:
Justice Alito Says Pandemic Has Resulted In ‘Unimaginable’ Restrictions On Individual Liberty
Alito said he was not criticizing officials for their policy decisions — “I’m a judge, not a policymaker” — and said before launching into the speech that he hoped his remarks would not be “twisted or misunderstood.” (Barnes, 11/12)