Last Thursday, United States Supreme Curt Justice Samuel Alito gave a very important speech (virtually) in front of The Federalist Society during its annual convention.
Big liberal media are already characterizing and pretty much telling you what to think about it. We've already posted a video of the speech and are linking to the full text here. But we're also happy to present excerpts of the speech which addressed the loss of individual liberties, particularly First Amendment rights and religious freedom. From Justice Alito:
Unfortunately, tolerance for opposing views is now in short supply in many law schools, and in the broader academic community. When I speak with recent law school graduates, what I hear over and over is that they face harassment and retaliation if they say anything that departs from the law school orthodoxy. . . .
. . . I'm a judge, not a policymaker. All that i'm saying is this. And I think it is an indisputable statement of fact, we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced, for most of 2020. . . .
Who could have imagined that the COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test. And in doing so it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck. . . .
The vision of early 20th century progressives and the new dealers of the 1930s was the policymaking would shift from narrow minded elected legislators, to an elite group of appointed experts in a word, the policymaking would become more scientific. That dream has been realized to a large extent. . And what have we seen in the pandemic sweeping restrictions imposed for the most part, under statutes that confer enormous executive discretion. . . .
. . . whatever one may think about the COVID restrictions, we surely don't want them to become a recurring feature after the pandemic has passed. All sorts of things can be called an emergency or disaster of major proportions. Simply slapping on that label cannot provide the ground for abrogating our most fundamental . . . .
Just as the COVID restrictions have highlighted the movement toward rule by experts, litigation about those restrictions, has pointed up emerging trends in the assessment of individual rights. This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty. And that marks a surprising turn of events. Consider where things stood in the 1990s. And to me, at least that does not seem like the Jurassic age. When a Supreme Court decision called employment division versus Smith, cut back sharply on the protection provided by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Congress was quick to respond. It passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). To ensure broad protection for religious liberty. The law had almost universal support. In the house, the vote was unanimous. In the Senate, it was merely 97 to three, and the bill was enthusiastically signed by President Clinton today that widespread support has vanished. When states have considered or gone ahead and adopted their own versions of reference. They have been threatened with punishing economic boycotts. . . .
The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious. . . .