Alito is Fulfilling Promises to the Supporters to Demolish Church-State SeparationRoundup
tags: Supreme Court, Samuel Alito, Christian Nationalism, Church-State Separation
Duncan Hosie is a writer and civil rights lawyer. A graduate of Yale Law School, he previously was a Marshall scholar at the University of Oxford, where he received a master's degree in history.
In his first public speech since writing the opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was angry. Speaking recently at a gilded hall in Rome, Alito ridiculed world leaders who criticized his decision. His sardonic broadsides went viral, with legal observers agape at the spectacle of a sitting Supreme Court justice swiping at Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron.
Alito’s headline-grabbing attacks crowded out discussion of another important part of his speech: his comments on religion. He bemoaned America’s “increasingly secular society” and its “turn away from” religion. He quoted scripture and, echoing St. Augustine, said “our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”
Alito also suggested two groups — nonbelievers and people who think religion is “just not all that important” — threaten “religious liberty.” These are fighting words that show a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution’s commitment to the separation of church and state. But no one should be surprised. These beliefs pervade the Christian Right, and in fact, Alito’s support for them are a reason he became a Supreme Court justice in the first place.