Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing criticism for making a "joke" about Black children wearing robes donned by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the White supremacist hate group that has historically employed terroristic tactics against Black people, other people of color, Jews, Catholics and their allies.
Alito made the crack during oral arguments for a case involving 303 Creative, the business of a Christian graphic artist based in Colorado who claims designing wedding websites for gay couples goes against her religious beliefs.
You can hear what Alito said in the audio below.
While hearing the case, Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked attorney Kristen Waggoner—who represents the Christian designer—whether a hypothetical photographer would be able to refuse to take photos of a White Santa Claus with Black children.
Waggoner replied the photographer would be able to refuse taking the photos only for Alito to then ask whether a Black Santa Claus would be able to refuse to take a photograph with a child wearing a KKK robe.
Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson replied no, adding KKK outfits "are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.”
To that, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out “presumedly, that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether if the child was Black or white or any other characteristic.”
Sotomayor's response prompted Alito to make the following remark:
“You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits all the time.”
Alito's remarks shocked social media users, who criticized him for making an inappropriate remark during Court arguments.
This is so absolutely disgusting that I have no words. https://t.co/WkNG6lbQNp— Marlene Robertson (@Marlene Robertson) 1670286519
This heinous creep is making decisions that effect the lives of millions of Americans. No wonder the Supreme Court… https://t.co/r2p6IDCSDy— truenorthresist (@truenorthresist) 1670290948
Alito's jokes did not stop there.
Later, Alito joked that his colleague, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, is familiar with Ashley Madison, the online dating and social networking service marketed to people who are married or in relationships.
New York Times reporters noted that Alito's remarks "provoked snickers in the generally serious chamber."