Justice Alito thinks bigots belong on juries

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/02/21/justice-alito-thinks-bigots-belong-on-juries.html


Fuck Alito. That’s the only appropriate response for anything involving him.


I can see his point when there are people on the bench with an admitted bias, who don’t recluse.


I wonder if Alito’s strategy is that a favourable ruling in this case would clear the path for a similar ruling that judges at all levels would not be obliged to recuse themselves from cases in which they themselves have a bias or other conflict of interest.


it is horrible for people with a pronounced bias to be allowed to serve as a Supreme Court justice.


No, he just took the opportunity to once again cast doubt on Obergefell. That’s all this was about. There was no other strategy. The Court literally couldn’t hear this appeal because the issue hadn’t been properly preserved for appeal.

This man is telling us what will happen if a challenge to same sex marriage comes before the Court again. He’s basically telling conservatives in red states to pass new laws banning same sex marriage so a suit over it can come before the Court and they can overturn Obergefell, just like they did with Roe. That’s literally what this is about.


Isn’t it my god-given right to avoid jury duty as well?

The problem here is how we justify religious beliefs in our society. It’s not my right to sacrifice human lives to some deity, so clearly religious rights are not total, the reasonable safety of the public is more important. A trial should be fair, you can’t have someone serve who personally knows the defendant and either loves or hates them, why should you allow someone with a broader hatred against the defendant to serve?


And yet my opposition to the death penalty (which is also related to religious beliefs) would block me from serving on a jury in a capital case.

Because to Alito, religious beliefs only get special treatment if you use them to be a jackass.


“Old Man Dissents To Cloud”


Alito is very openly trying to drag the country back to the 19th century. He’s also upset that the other justices aren’t letting him outlaw schools from promoting equal access to education.

tl;dr: Thomas Jefferson magnet high school changed their admissions policy to try to produce more economic and cultural diversity in the student body. Lower courts ruled this was legal and the appeal was brought to scotus. Scotus refused to hear the appeal and Alito’s pissed that he won’t be able to overturn the ruling because it “is flagrantly wrong and should not be allowed to stand.”


How about “The court doesn’t care WHY you believe something, only that you do or do not.”

1 Like

The court has made religious views more important than other views. If I hate gay people because I’m a bigot, I still have to let them order wedding cakes from my bakery. But if I say it’s my sincere religious belief that my god wants me to hate gay people, then I don’t have to sell them a cake.


The court, he wrote, still agreed to “single out the religious for disfavored treatment.” And that is generally forbidden “regardless of whether the differential treatment is predicated on religious status or religious belief” as long as the religious belief in question is a narrow sect of Christianity, otherwise, full steam ahead.

Fixed it…I somehow doubt Alito would have been as passionate about protecting the cherished biases of a Muslim, a Hindu, or a Satanist (which I suspect are all the same thing in his 19th-century mind).


“…but I am afraid that this admonition is not being heeded by our society.”

Good. Stay afraid; better for society.


ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs

What imaginary idol you believe in, faithwise, should probably not be the issue (though there are some whacky, weird-shit ‘religions’ out there that might give pause on this). But what you believe about your fellow citizens as a result, damn well should be, especially where it would contravene certain equality laws the state has put in place for good reason and expects its citizens to abide by!


The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the new admissions policy, he wrote, “is flagrantly wrong and should not be allowed to stand.” Justice Thomas signed onto this dissent.

Signed. That’s it. Easiest money CT ever earned. Not quite in new RV territory… but whatever he expected should keep his current one running.


Except he is mischaracterizing the situation, of course. There are Christians that do not oppose same sex marriage in sects that do not oppose same sex marriage, Christians who do not oppose same sec marriage in sects that do oppose same sex marriage, and Christians that oppose same sex marriage in sects that do not oppose same sex marriage. Only one quarter of the subset of Christians could possibly make the claim of religious discrimination because they are Christian, but the other three subsets invalidate that claim, unless they engage in the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

But he gives it away when he writes:

I absolutely agree with @danimagoo that he is teeing up — nay, begging for — a challenge to Obergefell, but society is (slowly, far too slowly) moving on from bigoted views of LGBTQ+ people, and Conservative Christian views are no longer generally accepted and guiding public opinion and morality. He knows this and he hates it with the fury of a thousand suns.


Exactly, which is why I characterized it as a “narrow sect.” Perhaps “sect” is the wrong term. Basically, a very small group of people characterizing themselves as “conservative Christians” has set itself up as the ultimate arbiter in all humanity’s dealings with God and/or each other.


Obviously Alito is just angling for some combination of majoritarian and reactionary here(he didn’t mention ‘traditional’ idly; that will presumably be used to dismiss anything he can’t imagine was something you would hear on Sunday in the right sort of neighborhood in the 1950s as not real religion); but it seems like he’s deliberately charging into the set of problems around accommodating religious freedom that Locke was carefully writing his way out of in 1689:

A blanket allowance of anything someone wishes to describe as ‘religious belief’ is fundamentally unworkable as a judicial principal because (even aside from all the obviously bad, but consistent, outcomes; like having to make selling verdicts legal because the alternative is oppression of the mammonite faith); it’s trivially possible(and common) for people to have equally ‘religious’ positions that are not mutually compatible; and if you’ve already unconditionally deferred to religious belief that leaves you with nothing except intellectual dishonesty to use to decide in favor of one over the other. I assume that is what the ‘traditional’ carve-out is being prepped for; but this is some low tier jurist work.


Scalia was a reactionary that I disagreed with constantly, but at least he was reasonably internally consistent and fair with the facts.

Alito, on the other hand, didn’t even get the facts right here. As I understand it the only jurors who were excused were the ones who testified they would be unable to set aside their biases and be fair-minded in this particular case. That is exactly who you should exclude from a jury, no matter which way those biases swing.

Called to be on a jury to try a black person and you testify you’re an anti-black racist and can’t set those views aside? You’d be excluded. Also, same case, but testify you think all police lie all the time? Same deal. And that’s how it should work.