Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito already made headlines recently for condemning the Obergefell v Hodges decision in a dissenting opinion of a related case. He’s now back in the news thanks to another controversial opinion of same-sex marriage.
Justice Alito spoke to the conservative Federalist Society via Zoom for their annual conference, focusing on the topic of religious liberties. The speech was seen largely as an elaboration on views the Justice already holds.
“It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right,” Alito said in the speech.
Specifically, Alito addressed his objection to the Obergefell v Hodges decision once again. Focusing heavily on his political beliefs as they relate to religious freedom, Alito elaborated on his recent headline-making call and his opinion in general.
“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” said Alito. “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,” he continued. “Yes, the opinion of the court meant to calm the furors of those who cling to traditional views on marriage. But I could see, and so did the other justices in dissent, where the decision would lead. I wrote the following: ‘I assume that those who cling to old beliefs 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 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,” finished Alito. “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.”
Alito’s speech comes on the heels of newly-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett completing her first sitting on the court. She, like Alito, heavily favors ideas of “religious liberty,” so it would come as no surprise if she were to express similar sentiments in the coming months.