A senior Vox correspondent has faced backlash after he tweeted and then deleted a scathing, prewritten obituary of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito — with critics accusing him of being “sick” and “trying to inspire someone to murder a Supreme Court Justice.”
Ian Millhiser, who covers the Supreme Court for Vox, tweeted the critical tribute to Alito on Tuesday morning, explaining, “August is a slow month so I’m spending my morning updating some of my prewritten obituaries,” Mediaite reported.
“It is considered to be quite gauche to speak ill of the recently deceased,” Millhiser opened the obituary.
He then went on to say that “Samuel Alito, who died on XXXX, was not devoid of any positive traits,” and was “a highly effective advocate for conservative causes.”
Millhiser wrote that had Alito spent his career as a litigator, “he would almost certainly be remembered” as one of the Republican Party’s “leading Supreme Court practitioners.”
But the Vox correspondent argued that the problem was that “Justice Alito was, indeed, one the Republican Party’s leading Supreme Court advocates — but he embraced this role while he was a sitting justice.”
Though the post has since been removed, a partial screenshot of it was taken by the conservative aggregation site Twitchy was available as of Thursday.
Millhiser’s obituary of the very-much-alive conservative justice sparked outrage on Twitter, with Townhall columnist Derek Hunter labeling the Vox correspondent a “sick f—er” and accusing him of “trying to inspire someone to murder a Supreme Court Justice.”
Another critic helpfully suggested other, less macabre activities for Millhiser in his downtime.
“Maybe take a walk, do something nice for someone, take a break from Twitter…because this is creepy,” user @CandiceLEn wrote.
A third opined that Millhiser’s post “comes off kind of attention-hungry and desperate.”
It is a common practice among journalists to use their downtime to compose obituaries for public figures in advance, and then hold them for publication until the subject’s death, but it’s unclear why Millhiser decided to share Alito’s on Twitter this week.
Alito, 72, appeared to be in good health when he delivered a speech at a conference on religious liberty in Italy last week. The tuxedo-wearing justice mocked Prince Harry for criticizing the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Millhiser did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday.
Millhiser has been previously critical of the Supreme Court justice. In a column published on Tuesday — just hours before tweeting Alito’s obituary — Millhiser argued that the problem with the US Constitution is that it does not specify which rights it protects, “and now the power to decide that question rests with people like Samuel Alito,” he wrote.
Later in his essay blasting the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision that scrapped the federal right to abortion, the journalist ridiculed Alito for citing in his Roe opinion a treatise written by a 17th-century judge who sentenced to death two women accused of witchcraft.
“It is a terrible mistake to trust this man with that kind of power,” Millhiser concluded.