Supreme Court Justice Alito’s Christian-Fascist Speech to the Federalist Society



On November 11, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito gave a major speech to the annual Lawyers’ Convention of the Federalist Society—a large fascist legal organization. The Federalist Society, as one observer noted, has as a core goal “shaping the federal judiciary to reflect rigid, conservative religious dogmas,” including overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973 and the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. It is financially backed by other powerful forces who consider the significant reforms and changes in the atmosphere that came about as a result of the struggles of Black, women, LGBTQ, and other people during the upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s to be a violation of “natural law”—i.e., God’s will. And they are well on their way to completely negating those advances and going much further toward a new Dark Ages of religious rule.

Alito’s speech is marked by the sense of bitter resentment and grievance of white Christian men that runs through the whole Trumpist fascist movement. In Alito’s mind, “conservative lawyers” face “harassment and retaliation” for promoting their positions—even though the Federalist Society played a decisive role in picking the majority of justices on the Supreme Court, and 90 percent of the appellate court judges that Trump has put on the courts. At one point he compares a sharply worded amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed by five Democratic senators with the experience of the supreme court of another (unnamed) country having “a tank pull up and point its gun toward the court.”

Alito also speaks out against what he calls “the vision of early 20th century progressives and the New Dealers of the 1930s” of imposing “the rule of experts.” What he means by this is the idea that government policies should be based on a scientific understanding of reality and not on popular prejudice.

Alito equates the very legitimate response of people who call them out for their “bigotry” as denying them their “freedom of speech.” He is furious that same-sex marriage is now not only legal but that public opinion has shifted. Alito says, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs [i.e., that same-sex marriage is unnatural] will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes. But if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots.” Well, hopefully they will, because that is what they are, but being called a bigot does not prevent you from speaking.

In one stunning passage, speaking about stay-at-home orders and mask ordinances aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19, Alito says: “we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.” Restrictions on public gatherings, mandates on wearing protective masks, and other measures have been implemented for the sake of general public health, because of a lethal global pandemic that is a societal danger, affecting everyone. Science is being looked to and argued for in governing bodies making these determinations. If exercising one’s individual freedom endangers others, like shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater, it is explicitly not a violation of First Amendment rights. And neither are these public health measures taken for the greater societal good, based on public health and scientific epidemiology. Contrary to Alito’s argument, there is no singling out of religious forces, no special rules or restrictions for social gatherings that apply only on the basis of religion.

Alito also claims that in the U.S. today “for many, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It’s often just an excuse for bigotry, and it can’t be tolerated.” As evidence he brings up the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in which the owners were sued for refusing to provide a cake for a gay wedding; the Little Sisters of the Poor case in which a group of Catholic nuns were sued for blocking their employees’ access to insurance that covered birth control; and another case in which a pharmacist was sued for refusing to sell the “morning after” pill.

Alito says, “The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious beliefs.” Well, first, let’s note that this is not the issue at all—the issue is whether people can deprive or obstruct other people’s exercise of their legally recognized rights, such as the right to marry, the right to birth control, etc., using their religious beliefs as justification. And the answer is HELL NO, just as you can’t murder someone and use your interpretation of the Bible as justification.

But more importantly, fundamentalist Christianity is hardly an “unpopular religious belief”—in fact it is currently the dominant religion throughout much of American society, including in the U.S. government. The vice president; secretaries of the departments of Education, Housing, State, and other key posts; hundreds of congressmen; and six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are Christian fundamentalist fascists. Christian fascists have been working for decades to not only “dominate” but to transform U.S. society into one based on (their interpretation of) biblical law. Under the Trump/Pence regime they have made enormous strides—including amassing enormous strength in the judicial system, and building up and hardening a powerful Christian fascist social movement. And even if and when the regime is driven from power, that Christian fascist movement is not going anywhere—it is going to use its tremendous institutional strength and backing of fanatics to carry through this mission, if they are not prevented from doing so.

Alito’s speech was creating public opinion for and a rallying cry for this mission.




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