While hearing the case of a Christian graphic artist in Colorado who says designing wedding websites for gay couples is against her faith, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked attorney Kristen Waggoner whether, following her arguments, a hypothetical photographer would be able to refuse taking photos of a white Santa Claus with Black children.
Waggoner, who is representing the designer, responded that the photographer would be able to refuse taking the photos.
Alito later tried to turn around Jackson’s analogy by asking whether a Black Santa had to have his picture taken with a child dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson said no, adding that “Ku Klux Klan outfits are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor then chimed in that, “presumedly, that would be the same Ku Klux Klan outfit regardless whether if the child was Black or white or any other characteristic.”
Alito then joked, “You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits all the time.”
Alito, who wrote the majority opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reversing the high court’s half-century-old ruling in Roe v. Wade, decided he was on a roll and kept up the yuks by suggesting Justice Elena Kagan was familiar with Ashley Madison, a dating site for people looking to have affairs.
Many Twitter users were shocked by Alito’s attempt at levity.