(Nov. 16) The liberal media meltdown about last week’s speech by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is silly and hypocritical. The speech was not only acceptable but insightful and appropriate.

Alito was the featured speaker at the annual national meeting (by video because of the coronavirus) of the Federalist Society, a group of mostly conservative lawyers that sponsors debates and seminars throughout the country. His remarks were quite pointed, perhaps even provocative, but they were well within ethical bounds. The media and leftist politicians, though, reacted as if Alito had thrown a verbal Molotov cocktail into the edifice of judicial propriety. But the media’s vapors are nothing more than gaseous piffle.

Alito’s main point was that the coronavirus pandemic “has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.” Secondarily, he put that observation in the context of what already are “emerging trends in the assessment of individual rights,” such that the First Amendment’s free speech and religious liberty rights and the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms seem threatened.

Despite how the media reacted, he was not making a value judgment there. He was actually making a rather uncontroversial, almost inarguable observation.

“I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions,” he explained. “Nor am I saying anything about whether any of these restrictions represent good public policy. I’m a judge, not a policymaker. All that I’m saying is this, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact: We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive, and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.”

How could anybody argue with that?

Nonetheless, cue the media gnashing of teeth. “In some respects, Alito’s suggestion that government is infringing on Americans’ freedoms echo the anti-mask, anti-restriction Trump talking points of the day,” wrote Joan Biskupic at CNN, who said the overall speech shows Alito “wants the high court to move further and faster on right-wing, anti-regulation interests.” Mark Joseph Stern at Slate called it a “grievance-laden tirade against Democrats, the progressive movement, and the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic” that amounted to “flouting his ethics obligations.”…

This is nonsense (and that’s putting it kindly.)….

[The full column is at this link.]



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