Justice Alito: The pandemic has “resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual freedom”

Deputy Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito arrives for Justice Neil Gorsuch’s swearing-in ceremony as Deputy Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, April 10, 2017. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic had “resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty” and warned that religious freedom “risks becoming a second-class right”.

Alito’s comments came during his virtual opening speech at a conference of the Conservative Federalist Society, in which tThe 70-year-old justice has warned that the United States cannot allow restrictions on personal freedom to continue after the pandemic ends, noting that places of worship have been treated particularly unfairly.

“Nevada could not provide any justification for treating casinos more favorably than other places of worship,” he said, referring to a recent Supreme Court case in which the court dismissed a request to ‘a church to block state restrictions that placed a 50-person limit on places of worship, while allowing casinos to operate at 50 percent of their fire code capacity.

“Religious freedom is in danger of becoming a second-class right,” he said, also expressing concern over freedom of speech and the Second Amendment.

Alito, a candidate for former President George W. Bush who was confirmed by the Senate in 2006, said that although there was “hostility” Towards “old-fashioned opinions” before the pandemic, freedom of expression is now particularly threatened on campuses and in certain companies.

“You can’t say marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” Alito said. “Until very recently, this is what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now that is considered bigotry.

“Tolerance of opposing views is now rare,” Alito said, especially in law schools and the “wider academic community”

He said a number of recent law school graduates have said they face “harassment” and “retaliation” for any view that runs counter to “the orthodoxy of the law. faculty of Law”.

“In some quarters, religious freedom quickly became an underprivileged right,” he said. “For many today, religious freedom is not a cherished freedom. It is often just an excuse for fanaticism and it cannot be tolerated even if there is no evidence that anyone has been hurt.

He spoke of the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who have been exempted from the obligation to provide contraceptive coverage to employees. Their case went to the Supreme Court although none of the employees requested birth control coverage. He also cited the case of a Colorado baker who was allowed to refuse to serve a gay couple for their wedding. The couple in question received a free cake from another store and were championed by celebrity chefs.

“The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious beliefs,” he said, adding that Christians deserve the same protections as any other minority religious group.

Tip the press team at NR.