ALL NEWS

Alito raises religious liberty concerns about Covid restrictions and same-sex marriage ruling

Nov 13, 2020, 7:31 AM
Associate Justice Samuel Alito poses for the official group photo at the US Supreme Court in Washin...
Associate Justice Samuel Alito poses for the official group photo at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on November 30, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

    (CNN) — Justice Samuel Alito said Thursday night that he worried about the future of religious liberty in the United States, expressing particular concern as it applies to Covid restrictions and the Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 clearing the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.

“It pains me to say this,” Alito said, “but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

The remarks — an enlargement of themes he’s written about — came as he was addressing the conservative Federalist Society via Zoom for its annual conference.

The speech was particularly notable because it comes at a fraught time on the heels of a divisive election, when Chief Justice John Roberts has sought to keep the court out of the political fray. Alito, instead, took on the restrictions of in-person worship services during the pandemic — an issue that is currently before the court — as well as Obergefell v. Hodges, the opinion that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide. He also returned to the issue of the Second Amendment and touched on the possibility that Democrats may seek to restructure the size of the court.


Latter-day Saint apostle speaks on the role of religion in COVID-19 crisis


In addressing Covid-19, Alito pointedly noted that he was not trying to diminish the severity of the pandemic, which he said has taken a heavy human toll, leaving “thousands dead, many more hospitalized,” but that he wanted to emphasize its impact on the rule of law and individual rights as officials have moved to combat the virus.

“We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged,” he said, and added that the pandemic has resulted in “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”

Alito said that the Covid crisis has served as a “sort of constitutional stress test” that has highlighted “disturbing trends” that were present before the virus appeared. He pointed to emergency orders over the summer where the court sided with officials who sought to restrict the number of people who could worship in person and he lambasted his colleagues for ruling in favor of state and local officials even when he thought churches were being treated differently from other entities that had fewer restrictions.

Earlier Thursday the court received yet another emergency petition on the issue, this time from the Roman Catholic diocese of Brooklyn seeking relief from an executive order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

Alito also reiterated what he had written in 2015, when he dissented from the court’s decision to clear the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.

“I could see,” he said, where the decision would lead for those who “cling to traditional views on marriage.”

He reiterated that opponents of the ruling would risk being “labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers and schools.”

“That is just what has come to pass,” he said. “One of the great challenges for the Supreme Court going forward will be to protect freedom of speech.”

And he saved particular anger for a Second Amendment case the court heard last term. In the end, the court dismissed the case because the law in question was changed after the justices agreed to hear the case.

On Thursday, as he did in his dissent, Alito took special aim at a brief filed by five Democratic senators who had urged the court to dismiss the case and had warned that if it did not, the public would believe the court was motivated by politics. The senators said the “Supreme Court is not well” and floated the possibility that it might need to be “restructured.”

On Thursday night, Alito blasted the brief.

“This little episode, I’m afraid, might provide a foretaste about what the court will face in the future, and therefore I don’t think it can simply be brushed aside,” he said.

Alito’s speech comes after Justice Amy Coney Barrett completed her first sitting on the court. Her nomination was championed by supporters of religious liberty, who believe she will join the court’s right flank on the issue.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the d...
Mark Jones

Bank robbery suspect taken into custody by Salt Lake City police

A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the day.
20 hours ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Lindsay Aerts

Count My Vote threatens ballot initiative to protect signature path to primary ballot if new bill passes

SALT LAKE CITY — A new war is brewing over signature gathering.  The citizens initiative group that ushered in Utah’s decade-old compromise creating a dual path for candidates to get on the primary election ballot — which includes signature gathering, the caucus convention system or both — is threatening to launch a statewide ballot initiative […]
20 hours ago
Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy....
Waverly Golden

Brigham City Police seeking help in locating missing teenager

Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy. 
20 hours ago
wallet...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utahns found wallet in a wall from 1970, looking to reunite with owner

After a local restoration company was called to remediate an emergency, they began tearing down walls, leading to a wallet found in the insulation. 
20 hours ago
#twitterdown twitter badges shown...
Samantha Herrera

#TwitterDown trends earlier as users experienced difficulties posting

Users across the word are reporting an error code that claims their account has reached the daily limit for tweeting.
20 hours ago
george santos is pictured amongst other lawmakers, he and romney have been exchanging harsh words...
Samantha Herrera

GOP on GOP: Romney scolds Santos, ‘You don’t belong here’

Santos' presence at the center aisle to see and be seen with the arrivals was met with a stern rebuke from a fellow Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Alito raises religious liberty concerns about Covid restrictions and same-sex marriage ruling