MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
Cal Thomas now on recent warnings offered by one of America’s greatest legal minds.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito recently delivered some serious warnings too often ignored by many who believe the freedoms we enjoy are inviolable.
In an address last week to the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, Alito touched on several subjects, including COVID, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, free speech, and “bullying” of the Supreme Court by U.S. Senators.
He made a case for how each issue contains elements that contribute to a slow erosion of our liberties.
ALITO: Unfortunately, tolerance for opposing views is now in short supply in many law schools, and in the broader academic community. When I speak with recent law school graduates, what I hear over and over is that they face harassment and retaliation if they say anything that departs from the law school orthodoxy.
This is not a new revelation, but it bears repeating.
While acknowledging the deaths, hospitalizations, and unemployment caused by COVID, Alito warned:
ALITO: The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty. Now, notice what I am not saying or even implying, I am not diminishing the severity of the virus’s threat to public health. I’m not saying anything about the legality of COVID restrictions. 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.
Where does that lead?
ALITO: The dominance of lawmaking by executive fiat rather than legislation. The vision of early 20th-century progressives and the new dealers of the 1930s was the policymaking would shift from narrow-minded elected legislators, to an elite group of appointed experts, in a word, the policymaking would become more scientific. That dream has been realized to a large extent. Every year administrative agencies acting under broad delegations of ‘authority’ churn out huge volumes of regulations that dwarfs the statutes enacted by the people’s elected representatives. And what have we seen in the pandemic? Sweeping restrictions imposed for the most part, under statutes that confer enormous executive discretion.
What about the erosion of religious liberty?
ALITO: It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.
As evidence he mentioned how we have moved from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993 to the recent persecution of The Little Sisters of the Poor for their refusal to cover contraceptives in their health insurance plan. The Catholic nuns prevailed in a 7-2 court ruling, but Alito believes the threat to the free exercise of religion remains all too real.
Justice Alito had a lot more to say, and it’s worth listening to the speech in its entirety. His warnings ring true, but are we listening?
I’m Cal Thomas.