At Federalist Society convention, Alito says religious liberty, gun ownership are under attack

At Federalist Society convention, Alito says religious liberty, gun ownership are under attack

Justice Samuel Alito told the Federalist Society on Thursday night that two constitutional protections – the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, and the Second Amendment right to bear arms – are rapidly becoming “second-class” liberties. Alito’s keynote address at the group’s 2020 National Convention was the first public appearance by a Supreme Court justice (aside from the court’s telephonic oral arguments) since the election. Speaking to a virtual audience over video , Alito began on a lighter note. He urged the attendees, who at previous in-person conventions would have had “a glass of wine, or two” before the keynote, to partake in a beverage of their choice. He also invited any critics to throw “rotten tomatoes” all they like: “You will only mess up your own screen.” Alito’s tone quickly turned sober. In what became a theme of his remarks, he quoted from Justice Elena Kagan, who, while speaking at a Federalist Society event at Harvard Law School while she was dean, declared, “I love the Federalist Society … but you are not my people.” The point, Alito said, was to highlight the conservative organization’s cultivation of spaces that are tolerant of opposing viewpoints, an acceptance he believes is “now in short supply.” Turning from law schools to the judiciary, Alito criticized a measure proposed last year that would have barred federal judges from maintaining membership in ideological groups like the Federalist Society. “We should all express our thanks” to the 200 federal judges who signed […]

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