In times of great tumult such as these, we should feel grateful that there are still sober-minded figures of restraint guarding over some of our most vital institutions. Take, for instance, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Alito has been on the bench since 2005. He has a lifetime appointment to the most powerful institution in America besides that of the presidency itself. He and his fellow unelected colleagues have virtually unchecked authority over the rest of us.
Thank god, then, that Samuel Alito is someone whose reasoned, careful, and balanced approach to his task guides his every move. And because he was appointed not by evil Republican Donald Trump, but by currently adored moderate hero Republican George W. Bush, we know we can trust him.
He provided no better example of his trustworthiness than in a speech he delivered on Thursday night to a virtual gathering of the Federalist Society, the group that is perhaps more responsible than any other for the conservative takeover of the judicial branch.
Here is Alito giving some modest and moderate comments about same-sex marriage:
The remarks, if you don’t want to watch the video:
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.
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. I assume that those who claim to old beliefs will be able able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes. But if they repeat those of us in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots, and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools. 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. 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.
Cool! And here he is making similarly non-crazed remarks about the pandemic:
He also said, “It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored, right,” and went on a long rant about the crime of asking employers to provide birth control to their employees. OK! There’s plenty more.
If you are someone who is, say, worried that Alito’s views will gain more purchase over everyone’s lives now that there is a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, don’t worry. Justices just call balls and strikes, as we know. No need to change anything about how the court works!