As Alito mocks foreign leaders, is SCOTUS having legitimacy crisis?

Associate Justice Samuel Alito poses during a group photo of the justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., April 23, 2021. Credit: Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo.

The Supreme Court has a 38% approval rating, down from 60% a year ago, according to a new poll from Marquette University Law School. Most Americans disapprove of the court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But that doesn’t seem to bother the author of the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito, who was recently taped mocking world leaders who expressed disapproval of the decision.

Alito largely talked about the need to protect religion during his July speech in Rome at Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Summit. He discussed how fewer Americans now identify as religious: “This has a very important impact on religious liberty. Because it is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think religion is a good thing that deserves protection.”

Alito is one of the most religious of the nine justices. But what is, or should be, the line between his personal views on faith and how he rules on the bench?