Law \ Legal

Sam Alito Drops Prince Harry Diss Track, Uses B-Side To Lay Out Terrifying Religio-Fascist Vision

Samuel Alito frown

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience that she thought Donald Trump was a bit of a fake and the media lost its collective minds. But Notorious RBG couldn’t hold a candle to MC Sammy Alito when it comes to diss tracks!

Justice Alito spoke last week at the 2022 Religious Liberty Summit in Rome while cosplaying as Evil Steven Spielberg and it was… a whole thing!

Sneering insults hurled at his fellow justices? Check. Meandering straw arguments? Check. Mocking Prince Harry… for some reason? Check checkity check!

We’ll get into the whole speech, but if you’re short on time, this is a remarkably apt summary of the whole experience of sitting down with this thing.

For the brave, we have the whole speech embedded below. Here are some highlights:

1. There Isn’t Enough Straw In The World To Build This Argument

Around the 15:49 mark, Alito lays out an excruciating hypo of a diehard Green Bay Packers fan because obviously Sam Alito is here to stan for quarterbacks refusing to get vaccinated. Anyway, this hypothetical fan wants to wear a Packers hat to court and Alito contrasts this with examples of lawyers wearing religious headgear.

He asks if the law can protect religious expression if it won’t stand behind the NFL fans.

Well for me the Constitution of the United States provides a clear answer. Some of my colleagues are not so sure.

Oh fuck you, dude. Not a single goddamned one of your colleagues believes either that observant attorneys can be forced to remove religious garb or that Packers fans deserve religious level accommodations.

This is a straw argument capped off by a disgraceful swipe at a baseless caricature of his fellow justices. If I thought John Roberts had any control over his own Court he would issue a formal censure of this behavior. I said “if.”

2. Alito Is A Small, Petty Man.

Since attacking his colleagues wasn’t enough, at the 25:30 mark, Alito goes full Nixon’s final days or Trump’s day that ends in “y” and takes aim at his personal enemies list.

I had the honor this Term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law.

“The whole world thinks I was wrong to replace the Bill of Rights with the musings of a 1600s witch-hunter” is a curious flex.

And in fairness to these foreign leaders, they weren’t so much commenting on American law, they were commenting on human rights and how Dobbs took the United States out of step with the global human rights consensus.

Remember that this is a speech about ostensibly about religious liberty, but he’s going to call out Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, and Justin Trudeau for daring to reassure their constituents that their own rights are safe because America has ceded the position of global leadership it once enjoyed.

But he saved his most mendacious for last when he goes after Prince Harry — to the delight of the trained seals in the audience — for remarks to the United Nations that “seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine.” Cue the boos and hisses.

So… what the Duke actually said was:

This has been a painful year in a painful decade. We’re living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe; climate change wreaking havoc on our planet, with the most vulnerable suffering most of all; the few, weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many; and from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States.

Which compares Dobbs to the war in Ukraine only to the extent that there are many varied challenges to freedom around the globe.

But Alito is allergic to acting in good faith.

3. Alito Thinks Every Right Is Subordinate To Free Exercise Of His Personal Conception Of “Traditional” Religious Beliefs

If you’re wondering why Dobbs came up at all in a conversation about religious liberty, it’s because Justice Alito believes that free exercise is the lens through which he views ALL rights.

This is an incredibly dark and scary speech. Early on, he talks about how society is falling apart because he once overheard a child in a Berlin museum who couldn’t identify Jesus from an image of a crucifix. The kid might have been Jewish or any number of religions, but Alito goes ahead and despairs at the concept that people of all religions aren’t worshipping Jesus Christ.

From here he pivots to the hostility to religion in the United States that exists in his own head. “Or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.” That “or at least” is doing a ton of work here because he’s eager to toss anyone who reads namby-pamby concepts like “peace” or “love thy neighbor” from their religions.

“Traditional” also takes a back seat for Alito to the extent the Catholic Church is adamantly opposed to the death penalty. It’s sort of a hangover from what the state did to its founder.

He says at one point that religious liberty is always under attack “because it is dangerous to those who want to hold complete power.” Which is kind of true, but only when those people trying to hold complete power are doing it by monopolizing religion. You only need to crush heretics when they’re challenging the state religion.

There are other assaults on religion based in prejudice, but Alito’s “power” angle is all about state religion. Which is why the Framers actually crafted a completely separate right to come at that problem! Alas, Alito’s remarks make clear that he is prepared to write the Establishment Clause right out of the Bill of Rights. For Alito, that vaguely defined “new moral code” is a default, illegitimate state religion and anything that imposes “traditional religious beliefs” to oppose it deserves blanket legal blessing.

Most troubling is a section toward the end where he leans into the “relationship” between free exercise and other rights. He tells the crowd that because religion involves speaking and gathering, speech and assembly are contingent upon free exercise. He half-heartedly claims that robust religious liberty makes it more difficult for the state to limit any other form of speech — which doesn’t even make sense within Alito’s own jurisprudence — but this goes both ways. If free exercise is central to protecting all rights then all freedoms are subordinate to unfettered free exercise.

And that’s really scary.

Alito dismisses foreign criticism of Supreme Court’s abortion ruling [Washington Post]

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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