“We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive, and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.

In a speech made to the Federalist Society via video link, the conservative-leaning justice said that the curbs on individual liberty imposed in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic were “previously unimaginable.”

Alito focused mainly on religious rights in his comments, stating how, “It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right. Churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover and Yom Kippur – think of it!”

Judge Alito also expressed his fear that freedom of speech itself was under attack, saying that, “Freedom is falling out of favor in some circles; we need to do whatever we can to prevent it from becoming a second-tier constitutional right. The COVID crisis has served as sort of a constitutional stress test,” he added.

Referring to changing social norms and pressure from liberal ideology, Alito described how citizens were no longer free to give voice to their opinions on a widening raft of issues.

“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman”, he said. “Until very recently that’s what a vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry.”