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How Sam Alito Ruined My Day And Shattered My Trust In Justice

Late last week when I learned that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito had publicly demonstrated seditionist sympathies in the wake of the Capitol Insurrection on January 6, I wasn’t surprised. But I was depressed.

It’s nothing new for Alito — the author of the infamous Dobbs decision — to send citizens into a tailspin. He has regularly ruined the emotional and mental well-being of millions since his poorly reasoned reversal of Roe, to say less of the physical distress he’s forced on many. But my sense of dismay at hearing Alito admit to signaling support for Trump’s attempt to overthrow the government wasn’t about what the Supreme Court Justice did or meant. It wasn’t even about his open disdain for popular rule and the democracy it’s meant to support, or his ideological work for the Republican Party, or his thin-skinned insistence that he be allowed to punish anyone, anywhere for behaving in a way he dislikes. Hearing that Justice Alito sympathized with insurrectionists days after they attempted to kill Congress upset me because I couldn’t expect consequences.

Sure, there were and are calls for recusal from cases where January 6 is a major factor — like the presidential immunity case that the Supreme Court weirdly accepted — but few people think that will result in acknowledgment, let alone compliance. Alito is going to do whatever he wants because what he wants is good for the Republican Party. As long as his allegiance to the ideology remains true, Republicans will downplay his offenses and scuttle any efforts to hold him accountable. Already, the GOP noise machine is arguing against an apology when the only acceptable outcome in a free society would be a wholesale and immediate resignation.

There’s a lot of dust being thrown around Alito right now to obscure and complicate the substance of what the Associate Justice has admitted to already, so let’s clear the air. A justice of the Supreme Court is supposed to be a neutral and fair observer to conflicts under their constitutionally defined and Congressionally limited jurisdiction. Every federal judge swears an oath to act impartially, fairly, and equally to all who stand before them — in addition to the traditional oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that has been the promise of every officeholder since the Civil War. In the wake of the worst attack on our government since that war, wherein the leader of the executive branch attempted to either hold Congress hostage or kill its members until they would reject the choice of 81 million voters and instead install him as dictator, a member of the Supreme Court reacted to public disapproval of the failed coup by signaling that he wished it had succeeded.

Even if we set aside the obvious and unacceptable breach in his two sworn oaths to a Constitution that demands a peaceful transfer of power, none of us can trust a person who sees a mob beat multiple defenders of the Capitol, break into the chambers of Congress, smear the halls with shit, call for the lynching of the Vice President and thinks to themselves that this is how government should work. While Congressional staff barricaded themselves in offices and feared for their lives, while Capitol police succumbed to grief and trauma and ended in suicide, while the mob built a scaffold to execute the verdicts of their anticipated show trials, Sam Alito wanted his neighbors to know that the problem with January 6th is that not enough of the right people died. His allegiance to his own feelings and ideology is so supreme that Alito will endorse overthrowing the government before allowing himself to be uncomfortable. And he’s responsible for interpreting the Constitution for the rest of us.

If we had healthy politics, Alito would have already pinned a resignation letter and Chief Justice John Roberts would have already accepted it. It would be embarrassing and humiliating for anyone who had supported or endorsed his nomination to the bench to see a grown man and sworn judge use his spouse as a human shield for his poor judgment. And we’d have the Senate Judiciary Committee up and running to hold hearings on how this happened and what protocols the Chief Justice needs from Congress to prevent such an abomination from taking place on our high bench ever again. And I wouldn’t be fighting to keep the context of a Supreme Court justice’s betrayal of the republic in public awareness because no one serious would be trying to deny it.

So there was nothing shocking or upsetting in learning that Sam Alito, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, has the same impulse control and critical thinking skills of a reactionary senior citizen posting about 5G conspiracies on Fox News forums. I wasn’t broken to discover that Sam Alito would rather destroy the United States than let it function for majorities that disagree with him. But it’s hard to handle the reality that for all the trust destroyed and lawlessness displayed, no matter how many times the Supreme Court betrays the people, it doesn’t change how they rule over us.

Kaitlin Byrd
Kaitlin Byrd
Knows too much, thinks even more. Has infinite space in her heart for tea and breakfast for dinner. Really from New York, so always ready to cut a bitch.