Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito recently came under fire for comments he made at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention. Alito expressed concern on several topics during the speech, including the effect that COVID lockdowns are having on personal liberty, threats by some U.S. Senators to pack the Supreme Court and the intensified attacks he sees on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Talking about religious liberty, Alito said, “For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom…The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious beliefs.”
In discussing his concerns about freedom of speech, Alito said the following: “One of the great challenges for the Supreme Court going forward will be to protect freedom of speech. 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.”
These comments landed Alito in hot water among critics on the left. Leading the charge was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who responded to Alito by stating, “Supreme Court Justices aren’t supposed to be political hacks. This right-wing speech is nakedly partisan.”
We’ll get to Alito’s comments in a moment. However, I feel that it is very important for us to examine the utter hypocrisy coming from Sen. Warren. To understand this, all we must do is look back less than 2 months and hear how Warren praised the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“We honor her memory by fighting for the things that Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for during her long career. A woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. Healthcare for millions of Americans. Dreamers who have made a home here. Voting rights. LGBTQ rights. Workers’ rights. Union rights.”
Wait a second, I thought Warren said that Justices “aren’t supposed to be political hacks.” But here she is openly praising Justice Ginsburg as a fighter for different partisan political interests, just like a “political hack.”
How can it be that in one moment the senator praises Ginsburg for being a fighter for her beliefs, and in the other she attacks Alito for being a “partisan?” This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
However, the danger goes much further than hypocrisy, and this is where we return to Justice Alito’s comments. Since when did a Supreme Court Justice speaking in favor of freedom of speech and religion earn the moniker of “partisan?”
A Supreme Court Justice takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution as required under Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, “…all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…”
A judge’s job isn’t to “write” or “fight” for a political position, rather, his or her sole duty is to interpret and defend the Constitution. But if Judges are sworn to defend the Constitution, what is “partisan” about Justice Alito standing for the freedoms of speech and religion?
Both freedoms are expressly mentioned and protected in the First Amendment, unlike many of the issues Warren praised Ginsburg for “fighting for.” Either Sen. Warren is incredibly misinformed or she is being disingenuous for the sake of attacking someone she doesn’t like.
As a matter of fact, under Article 6 of the Constitution, senators are required to swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States as well. So why does Warren not seem to recognize the First Amendment stating, “Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech…”?
Is the Constitution a “partisan” document in Warren’s view? If she does think the First Amendment and the freedoms it grants are partisan, I would ask how she can swear to uphold the Constitution as a U.S. Senator.