I'll start by pointing out that many years ago, one of my friends worked for the presiding judge of the 3rd Circuit here in Philadelphia (who was himself on the shortlist for the Supreme Court). Sam Alito also served on the 3rd Circuit at this time. And while my friend was very discreet and was never unprofessional, she did tell me something after after her boss died: Namely, that he referred to Alito as "the right wing assh*le."
And last night, Justice Alito, appointed by George H. W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court, finally let his freak flag fly.
In a virtual speech to the extremist Federalist Society Lawyers Convention last night, he violated every unwritten norm about how a judge is supposed to comport themselves. (Of course, under conservative leadership, the Supreme Court exempted itself from the same judicial code of content that applies to every other federal judge.) Via Slate:
The Federalist Society, a well-funded network of conservative attorneys, has come under unusual scrutiny after Donald Trump elevated scores of its members to the federal judiciary. Its leaders insist that it is a mere debate club, a nonpartisan forum for the exchange of legal ideas. But Alito abandoned any pretense of impartiality in his speech, a grievance-laden tirade against Democrats, the progressive movement, and the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alito’s targets included COVID-related restrictions, same-sex marriage, abortion, Plan B, the contraceptive mandate, LGBTQ non-discrimination laws, and five sitting Democratic senators.
Ironically, Alito began his pre-recorded address by condemning an effort by the U.S. Judicial Conference to forbid federal judges from being members of the Federalist Society. He then praised, by name, the four judges who spearheaded a successful effort to defeat the ban—or, as Alito put it, who “stood up to an attempt to hobble the debate that the Federalist Society fosters.” Alito warned that law school students who are members of the Federalist Society tell him they “face harassment and retaliation if they say anything that departs from the law school orthodoxy.”
And then he told us what he really thinks.
In his own way, Alito was throwing a tantrum, just like Donald Trump does.
And in doing so, he proved the very point he argues against: Democrats need to reform the Supreme Court so that a small handful of extreme ideologues can't have outsize influence over anything that offends them on a personal level.
Here's the entire speech, remarkable in its menacing petulance and sense of white male conservative entitlement.