Samuel Alito in Supreme Court 2010s


On Abortion: Ok for states to require hospital nearby abortion service

The Supreme Court blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that women's groups said would leave only a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions in the state. By a 5-4 vote, the court said the restrictions must remain on hold while challengers appeal a lower court decision in favor of the law.

The vote was not a ruling on the legal merits of the restriction, but the decision to keep the law on hold signals that a majority of the justices have doubts about its constitutionality. Passed by the state legislature in 2014, the measure requires any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Plaintiffs argued that it was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016, in which the court said Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing them any medical benefits. Plaintiffs said Louisiana's law would leave only one doctor at a single clinic in New Orleans to perform the procedure.

Source: NBC News on 2019 SCOTUS case: "June Medical vs. Louisiana" Feb 7, 2019

On Health Care: Concurs that ObamaCare "state exchanges" cannot be federal

The Supreme Court upheld one of the main tenets of ObamaCare, ruling 6-3 that millions of Americans are entitled to subsidies be distributed through both federal and state channels. The Supreme Court agreed.

In dissenting, Justice Antonin Scalia-- joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas--said the majority erred in reading the law's language describing an "Exchange established by the State" to mean "Exchanges established by the State or the Federal Government."

"That is of course quite absurd, and the Court's 21 pages of explanation make it no less so," Scalia wrote in his own 21-page opinion. "Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is 'established by the State,'" he said. "It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words 'established by the State.' It is hard to come up with a reason to include the words 'by the State' other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges."

Source: US News&World Report on 2015 SCOTUS decision King v. Burwell Jun 25, 2015

On Families & Children: Constitution doesn't define marriage, so DOMA should stand

In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined the term "marriage" under federal law as a "legal union between one man and one woman" deprived same-sex couples who are legally married under state laws of their Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under federal law.

Situation: Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were married in Toronto, Canada in 2007. Their marriage was recognized by New York state, where they resided. Upon Spyer's death in 2009, Windsor was forced to pay $363,000 in federal taxes, because their marriage was not recognized by federal law.

OnTheIssues explanation: This ruling led to a series of state legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as federal equality of same-sex rights (but not federal equality of marriage).

Opinions:Majority: Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, & Kagan; dissent: Roberts, Alito, Thomas & Scalia, on mixed grounds of federalism & traditionalism.

Source: CNN.com on 2012 SCOTUS docket #12-307 Jun 26, 2013

On Government Reform: Federal control over state voting is outdated

In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the section of the Voting Rights Act which established a formula for determining if a state requires prior approval before changing its voting laws. Nine states with a history of discrimination must still get clearance from Congress before changing voting rules to make sure racial minorities are not negatively affected--this section was made toothless. Chief Justice Roberts said the formula Congress now uses, which was written in 1965, has become outdated. Justice Ginsburg, dissenting, said, "Hubris is a fit word for today's demolition of the VRA."

OnTheIssues explanation: This ruling led to a spate of "Voter ID" laws, which proponents claim is needed to protect the integrity of the vote, and which opponents say discriminates against youth & minority voters.

Opinions:Majority: Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, & Alito; concurrence: Thomas; dissent: Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, & Kagan.

Source: InfoPlease.com on 2013 SCOTUS docket #12-96 Jun 25, 2013

On Health Care: ObamaCare's individual mandate is unconstitutional

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Kathleen Sebelius (Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services), the Supreme Court upheld most of ObamaCare, including the individual mandate, which requires that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fee. The court ruled 5-4 that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress's taxing authority. The Court also upheld the expansion of Medicaid, the government's health insurance program for low-income Americans, but limited the provision, saying states will not necessarily lose their funding if they choose not to expand the program.

Opinions: Roberts wrote majority opinion; Ginsburg, Sotomayor; Breyer, and Kagan concurred in part (noting that the Commerce Clause alone justifies ObamaCare's mandate); Scalia, Kennedy & Alito dissented (on grounds that the individual mandate was unconstitutional); Thomas separately dissented (on grounds that the Commerce Clause is interpreted too broadly).

Source: InfoPlease.com on 2012 SCOTUS docket #11-393/398/400 Jun 28, 2012

On Corporations: Corporate political spending is protected free speech

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the government cannot restrict the spending of corporations for political campaigns, maintaining that it's their First Amendment right to support candidates as they choose. This decision upsets two previous precedents on the free-speech rights of corporations. Pres. Obama expressed disapproval of the decision, calling it a "victory" for Wall Street and Big Business.

OnTheIssues explanation: Roberts, Scalia & Alito concurred; Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, & Sotomayor partly dissented (on grounds that electioneering spending is not protected free speech); Thomas partly dissented (on grounds that anonymous spending is protected free speech).

Source: InfoPlease.com on 2010 SCOTUS docket #08-205 Jan 21, 2010

The above quotations are from Supreme Court decisions 2010-2019.
Click here for other excerpts from Supreme Court decisions 2010-2019.
Click here for other excerpts by Samuel Alito.
Click here for a profile of Samuel Alito.
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Sep 20, 2020