Now there is a rather bold privilege at work after four years in which white supremacy has been culturally anchored by a government trying to improve it in both politics and rhetoric.
In one of the baldest political parts of the speech, Alito advocated the special rights of conservative Christians, especially to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans and same-sex couples.
As only someone with every built-in privilege could do, Alito explained straight how no harm was done to a same-sex couple when a bakery in Colorado refused to bake a cake for their wedding. The couple, he said, “Was given a free cake by another bakery” and celebrities came in their defense. For many, he concluded, religious freedom “cannot be tolerated even when there is no evidence that someone has been harmed”. Oh yes, oppressors as victims and victims as oppressors. There is nothing like being dehumanized while you are planning a ceremony to celebrate your sacred union.
Alito also praised his own ability to see alleged religious repression when the Supreme Court announced its historic 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country. Alito quoted from his dissent and offered: “I assume that those who hold on to old beliefs can whisper their thoughts in the alcoves of their homes, but if they repeat these views in public they risk being classified as bigots and by governments, employers and schools as such to be treated. ”
“That is exactly what will happen,” he continued, describing the protection of freedom of expression as one of the “great challenges” facing the Supreme Court. “We have to do everything we can to prevent it from becoming a secondary constitutional law,” he said.
Except that Alito forgot to outline the way in which bigoted language was restricted. Religious conservatives are still as free to denounce same-sex marriages as liberals call them bigots. This is how free speech works.
Unless, of course, Alito purposely linked freedom of speech to freedom of discrimination in public accommodation, which would call federal law into question, as set out in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later upheld by the Supreme Court.
But Alito’s advocacy of discrimination wasn’t his only partisan game. He also opposed any future efforts by Congress Democrats to curtail right-wing rule of the court over a center-left country, likening it to autocratic intimidation. Alito told a story told by a Supreme Court judge from an authoritarian country: “He looked out the window and saw a tank pull up and pull its gun towards the court. The message was clear: choose the right path or this Courthouse could be, shall we say, ‘restructured’. “
As we all know, Liberal Democratic lawmakers are the first to take up their arms when conflicts arise. Seriously, the proposal, although formulated in full sentences, is positively Trumpian in its alienation from reality.
Perhaps fittingly, Alito also directed a good part of his speech to impaling the current public guidelines intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus. “The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual freedom,” he said. “We have never seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as we have seen in most of 2020.”
The restrictions, argued Alito, were the fault of “Progressives of the early 20th century and the New Dealers of the 1930s, “who valued legislation by executive fiat rather than legislature” and eventually became too respectful of “experts”, leading to politics becoming “more scientific”. Egad – science!
Apparently, Republicans – the People’s Party – love public opinion for high-minded legislative outcomes that avoid the rule of the executive. In all honesty, it’s difficult to even unpack this succession of revisionism other than to say that someone is a little sensitive to the FDR’s campaign to limit the conservative impulses of a court that actually disagreed with public opinion at the time.
In any case, no longer pretend there is ever a question. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate’s legal writer, wrote: “That was certainly the most political speech I have ever given by a Supreme Court judge. Impressive. Same-sex marriage, guns, abortion, birth control, federalist persecution … he really pushed it all into it. Yikes “