Justices Alito puts KKK robes on black kids and laughs

A bizarre scene unfolded in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, December 5, 2022.

Lawyers were arguing over whether a Colorado graphic designer has a religious right to refuse service to gay couples (spoiler alert: she’ll win). Justice Jackson, who’s black, asked the designer’s attorney if a photographer should be able to refuse photographing a mall Santa with black children.

The attorney said yes, the photographer could refuse under her theory of the case. (If that becomes the law of the land, it will restore de facto racial discrimination in the U.S. and wipe out 60 years of civil rights progress.)

It avalanched downhill from there.

Justice Alito, an arch-conservative, tried to pull off a “back-atcha” against Jackson by asking if a black Santa must have his picture taken with a kid in a KKK costume. Colorado’s attorney responded that KKK outfits aren’t protected under its public accommodation laws. (These laws bar discrimination in businesses and public accommodations.) Duh. Slap forehead.

Justice Sotomayor chimed in that “presumedly, that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether if the child was Black or white.” Alito took the bait and swallowed it whole, snorting, “You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits all the time, right?” then laughed at his own joke. Read story here.

The Supreme Court is already in the doghouse for unpopular rulings and antics like Justice Thomas’ refusal to recuse himself from election cases after his wife participated in Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. For the first time in generations, a wide cross-section of Americans are using terms like “corrupt” and “illegitimate” to describe the court, and questioning whether it’s still upholding the rule of law, or now pursuing a partisan agenda. This doesn’t help.

To all black people, and countless other Americans, Alito’s awkwardly contrived imagery of forcing black children to wear KKK costumes is horrifying. No decent person with a shred of race sensitivity would go there, and most certainly not in a joking manner. It’s a punch in the face to victims of racial violence, made worse by dragging their kids into the “joke.”

Alito was already under fire (see story here). For this latest transgression, sending him to compulsory racial sensitivity training isn’t enough. He should resign.

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