Op-Ed: Alito Said Nothing Wrong to Filmmaker

Catholic University law professor defends the justice's remarks as non-controversial
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2024 2:20 PM CDT
Op-Ed: Alito Said Nothing Wrong to Filmmaker
Associate Justice Samuel Alito.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito has taken much criticism this week after a progressive filmmaker posed as a conservative Christian and secretly recorded his comments. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, called Alito an "extremist who is out of touch with mainstream America" after he agreed in the recorded conversation that the nation should return to a place of "godliness," per the Hill. But in a New York Times op-ed, Catholic University law professor Marc O. DeGirolami is struggling to understand what Alito said that was so wrong, exactly. "None of his remarks was improper for a judge to make," writes DeGirolami. "Furthermore, he did not even say anything especially controversial—or at least nothing that would be controversial in a less polarized moment."

In regard to the "godliness" exchange, Alito didn't talk about pending cases or other specifics. "Most of the exchange consists of the filmmaker's own goading remarks, followed by the justice's vague and anodyne affirmations and replies," he writes. "About what you might expect when cornered at a boring cocktail party." Many Americans believe in God and godliness, just as many might be skeptical that political compromise in today's highly polarized environment is near impossible in some cases (another point Alito made). "I can think of two possible objections to what Justice Alito said: that he should not hold these views; or that he should not express them in public," writes DeGirolami. "I would suggest that they are not so extreme as to merit denunciation. On the contrary, they are reasonable, even commonplace." Read the full piece. (More Samuel A. Alito stories.)

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