This week I criticized Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito for a speech that he gave to the Federalist Society. That should come as no surprise since I have spent two decades criticizing justices for such controversial public addresses.  However, I was struck in the last couple days by the politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and liberal faculty members who are falling over themselves in utter disgust with such public commentary from a sitting justice. For years, I criticized the far more egregious comments from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg without a peep of protest from people like Warren. Instead, Ginsburg became the “Notorious RBG.” There is, however, no place for a Notorious SAA in the media or academia.

I admittedly hold a more traditional and cloistered view of public role of justices. I have been particularly critical of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who clearly relished appearances before ideologically supportive groups. We have seen in the last couple decades more and more public speaking by justices in both books and speeches on contemporary issues. I have called this trend the “rise of the celebrity justice.”

As I previously noted,Justice Alito addressed attacks on religious liberty and free speech, including citing past cases and disputes before the Court.  He also declared “The Covid crisis has highlighted constitutional fault lines” in attacking such rights.Alito also launched into liberals who he views as threatening religious rights, noting that “[i]n certain corners, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.” Alito attacked the Obama administration’s “ protracted campaign” and “unrelenting attack” against the Little Sisters of the Poor.” He also criticized a Washington State for requiring pharmacies to provide emergency contraception. He maintained that such emergency contraception “destroys an embryo after fertilization.” All of those issues have been and will again be before the Court. Indeed, as Alito was making these ill-considered comments, the Catholic Church was coming before his Court in these very issues.

So there is reason to be critical of Alito. However, the voices are coming from people who once cheered on such comments from Ginsburg.  Now however there was nothing but utter disgust. This was not “Notorious” but nauseating.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., declared “These are stunning, harmful words from Justice Alito.”