"Justice Samuel Alito" by Supreme Court / Public Domain

Alito homes in on gay marriage, gun rights, religious liberty in stern speech to conservatives

Nov 16, 2020

By Robert Barnes

When a public official says he is pessimistic that his comments won’t be twisted or misunderstood but then adds, “here goes,” even he knows something controversial is coming up.

That’s how Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his rock-ribbed and unusual speech to the Federalist Society on Thursday night. He recited “previously unimaginable” pandemic-related restrictions on individual freedoms and lamented that freedom of speech, religion and gun rights are in danger of “second-tier” constitutional status.

He delivered a brushback to liberal Democratic senators who have criticized the court. He renewed grievances with his colleagues — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was an implied offender — about decisions on abortion rights and deferring to public officials who limit the size of worship services as preventive measures aimed at abating the spread of coronavirus.

Same-sex marriage? Check. These days, “you can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman” without fear of reprisal from schools, government and employers, Alito said.

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