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Home » Opinion | Alito No Longer Tries to Hide His Theocratic Worldview

Opinion | Alito No Longer Tries to Hide His Theocratic Worldview

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Today’s Supreme Court may bear Chief Justice John Roberts’s name, but it is not his court, nor has it been for many years.

This was demonstrated once again this week — not in a formal public opinion but in a recording released by a woman who had infiltrated a private court event last week and surreptitiously taped her conversations with the justices.

Posing as a conservative Catholic, the woman, Lauren Windsor, asserted that America is a Christian nation and it is the court’s role to lead it on a “moral path.”

Roberts refused to take the bait. “Would you want me to be in charge of putting the nation on a more moral path?” he responded. “That’s for people we elect. That’s not for lawyers.” He also disagreed that America is a Christian nation.

This was, of course, the easy and correct answer. Roberts knows that the court’s legitimacy relies entirely on the trust of the American people. You don’t have to wonder if he’s a closet liberal (and he’s far from it) to expect him and his colleagues to approach the nation’s most fraught legal disputes with fairness or at least with respect for the separation of church and state.

Justice Samuel Alito can’t be bothered with such earthly concerns. In response to Windsor’s claim that religious Americans have to keep fighting “to return our country to a place of godliness,” he said, “I agree with you. I agree with you.”

“One side or the other is going to win,” he added.

In one sense, this is no surprise coming from the court’s leading culture warrior. Alito has long made clear his special solicitude for religious claims, whether before the court or on the flagpole outside his house. Still, it should shock us to hear him lay out his worldview so bluntly. It shows an utter lack of regard for the court’s delicate posture of neutrality in the constitutional system and American society.

For a long time, Alito seemed like an outlier on the court, lobbing his sour, grievance-filled dissents from the sidelines. He is now ascendant, writing the lead opinion in the decision striking down the right to abortion and many other precedent-breaking rulings. He is also in good company in the upper reaches of government. Recall that House Speaker Mike Johnson, an evangelical Christian, told an interviewer after he got the job, “Go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.”

Perhaps we should be grateful that these aspiring theocrats have fully ripped off the mask. Why submit to the sinful compromises demanded by a pluralistic society when you can just impose your (and God’s) will by fiat? In that regard, this is really the Alito court.

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