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Justice Alito warns college students that ‘support for freedom of speech is declining’

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is warning students that “support for freedom of speech is declining” — especially on American college campuses. 

Alito made the remark over the weekend during a commencement speech at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. Anti-Israel protests have been rocking college campuses nationwide. 

“Right now in the world outside this beautiful campus, troubled waters are slamming against some of our most fundamental principles. Support for freedom of speech is declining, dangerously,” Alito said Saturday. “Especially where it should find broadest and widest acceptance.” 

“In a book called The Idea of a University, St. John Henry Newman saw the university as a place for reason to debate. Today, very few colleges live up to that ideal,” he continued. “This place is one of the few that does and you are very fortunate to have had that experience.” 

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Justice Alito deliver commencement speech

Justice Samuel Alito delivers a commencement speech Saturday at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Alito also told students that religious liberty is being “threatened.” 

“When you venture out into the world, you may find yourself in a job, or a community or a social setting where you will be pressured to endorse ideas you don’t believe, or to abandon core beliefs. It will be up to you to stand firm… it will be up to you to speak out,” he said. 

Alito spoke as the Supreme Court is weighing a number of high-profile cases, including whether former President Trump can claim presidential immunity against criminal charges brought by the Biden Justice Department.  

JUSTICE ALITO QUESTIONS WHETHER PRESIDENTS WILL HAVE TO FEAR ‘BITTER POLITICAL OPPONENT’ THROWING THEM IN JAIL 

A woman is arrested at a pro-Palestinan protest

A woman is arrested at an anti-Israel protest at the University of Texas on April 24. (Jay Janner / American-Statesman)

In late April, Alito questioned the repercussions of charging a former president as arguments were being presented in that case. 

“Now if an incumbent who loses a very close, hotly contested election knows that a real possible nullity after leaving office is not that the president is going to be able to go off into a peaceful retirement, but that the president may be criminally prosecuted by a bitter political opponent, will that not lead us into a cycle that destabilizes the functioning of our country as a democracy?” he said.  

Supreme Court

Alito also told students in his speech that religious liberty is being “threatened.”  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

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“And we can look around the world and find countries where we have seen this process, where the loser gets thrown in jail,” Alito added. 

Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy and Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 


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