Saturday, November 14, 2020

Supreme Court Justice speaks powerfully about religious freedom


Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito makes POWERFUL statements defending Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech

'We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.'

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito spoke out about about the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, warning that religious liberty and freedom of speech could be in danger. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While Alito would not comment on whether he agreed or disagreed with the restrictions states have imposed for public health safety, he did state these conditions should not become "a recurring feature after the pandemic has passed." 

In an address to the conservative Federalist Society, during their annual convention virtually, Alitosaid, "The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty." 

Hoping his words would not be "twisted or misunderstood," Alito insisted he was not "diminishing the severity of the virus," its treat to public health, or 'whether any of these restrictions represent good public policy." 

"Putting aside what I will say shortly about a few Supreme Court cases, I'm not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions, nor am I saying anything about whether any of these restrictions represent good public policy," Alito expressed. "I'm a judge, not a policymaker. All that I'm saying is this, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact: We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.

"Whatever one may think about the COVID restrictions, we surely don't want them to become a recurring feature after the pandemic has passed."

The implemented COVID restrictions utilize what is known as "inherent police power" of states to "regulate conduct for the sake of public health, a power which is reserved by the constitution," according to the Daily Mail.

"The current 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," he said. "One of these is the dominance of lawmaking by executive fiat rather than legislation. 

"The vision of early 20th century progressives and the New Dealers of the 1930s was the policymaking would shift from narrow-minded elected legislators to an elite group of appointed experts. In a word, the policy-making would become more 'scientific.'

"That dream has been realized to a large extent. Every year, administrative agencies acting under broad delegations of authority churn out huge volumes of regulations that dwarf the statutes enacted by the people's elected representatives. And what have we seen in the pandemic? Sweeping restrictions imposed for the most part under statutes that confer enormous executive discretion."

During his remarks, Alito also commented on a few different Supreme Court cases earlier this year, where the court sided with states, particularly on imposed restrictions on religious gathering sizes during the pandemic. 

Alito shared, in both cases the restrictions had "blatantly discriminated against houses of worship," warned that "religious liberty is in danger of becoming a second-class right."

"Think of worship services! Churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover in Yom Kippur," he said. "It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right."

While it is highly uncommon for a Supreme Court Justice to weigh in on such heavy, political and hot-topic issues in a public forum, it's even more so rare for Alito to do so, especially while hinting at how he'd rule on COVID restrictions. 

Alito's personal thoughts didn't end with COVID restrictions, though. He also briefly touched on how the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, gun reform and limited freedom of speech affects the country. 

He explained the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, "will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy."

In regards to freedom of speech, Alito stated, "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."

According to Alito, social norms have created a list of things that are now unacceptable to say. 

"But it would be easy to put together a new list called 'Things You Can't Say If You're A Student or Professor at a College or University or an Employee of Many Big Corporations,'" he expressed, comparing this to the seven words you "can't say on television". "And there wouldn't be just seven items on that list; 70 times seven would be closer to the mark." 

"You can't say that marriage is between one man and one woman," Alito expressed, "Until very recently that's what a vast majority of Americans thought. Now its considered bigotry."

Since Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's public comments, several liberal-leaning lawyers have taken to Twitter to criticize him.

"This speech is like I woke up from a vampire dream," University of Baltimore law professor and former federal prosecutor Kim Wehle commented. "Unscrupulously biased, political, and even angry. I can't imagine why Alito did this publicly. Totally inappropriate and damaging to the Supreme Court."

With conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett being appointed as replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away in September, the court might come forward with different rulings to similar cases it was presented with previously. 

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