U.S. Supreme Court's Alito raised concerns over individual liberty amid COVID-19

Nov 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito raised concerns on Thursday night over individual liberty, including religious liberty, in the United States with reference to restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It pains me to say this,” Alito said, “but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

Alito’s remarks came at an address to the conservative Federalist Society via Zoom for its annual conference.

“The COVID crisis has served as sort of a constitutional stress test,” Alito said, adding that there have not previously been such “severe, extensive and prolonged” restrictions as seen in most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Alito said that it was hard to imagine before COVID-19 that places of worship like churches would be empty on occasions such as Easter.

He added that he was not trying to downplay the severity of the coronavirus, but said the outbreak had led to “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”

Justice Alito’s remarks come as the United States has lost over 240,000 lives from the disease, with more than 10.4 million Americans having been infected by the virus.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry