U.S. Supreme Court

Did Alito roll his eyes during Ginsburg dissent?

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. is famous for apparently mouthing “not true” during President Obama’s criticism of Citizens United during a 2010 State of the Union speech. Did Alito make a similar display of disapproval as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read a bench statement on Monday?

Commentators for the Atlantic and the Washington Post say the answer is yes. Alito had written the majority decision in one of the opinions, Vance v. Ball State, which set the bar higher for a co-worker to be deemed a supervisor. Ginsburg said the decisions could leave some workers without a remedy.

“At this point,” the Atlantic says, “Alito pursed his lips, rolled his eyes to the ceiling, and shook his head ‘no.’ He looked for all the world like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, signaling to the homies his contempt for Ray Walston as the bothersome history teacher, Mr. Hand.”

The Post saw also saw a head shake, an eye roll, and a look at the ceiling, deeming such reactions to be “middle-school gestures.” And it’s not the first time Alito visibly reacted to justices reading from the bench, the story claims, though the earlier incidents were during lighter introductory remarks. One time he “glowered,” the story says, and another time he rolled his eyes and shook his head.

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