The late Charles Krauthammer famously wrote:
“To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”
I think we have to add: both sides think the other is authoritarian.
Well, I'll tell you one thing: if a Supreme Court Justice whom I thought was pretty good said something that directly contradicted the Constitution -- even a section of the Constitution that I don't like -- I would think the statement fell somewhere between careless, stupid, and dangerous. And if the statement was not clarified or retracted -- and I'm hardly the only person who has noted Alito's mischaracterization of the Constitution -- I would think that Justice didn't belong on the Supreme Court.
For example, if Elena Kagan -- whom I consider maybe the best Justice on the Court -- said that the Second Amendment only recognized a very limited right to bear arms, my reaction would be about the same as my reaction to Alito. I would probably sympathize with her more, but I wouldn't ridicule people who were dismayed that she would say such an obviously wrong thing. Really, I would share their dismay; even if you think weapons should be more closely regulated, the way to achieve that is not to pretend that words don't mean what they clearly mean.
Authoritarianism requires, I think, an "us/them" perception of society. There is no shortage of "liberals" who would buy into an authoritarian regime if given the chance. Not anywhere near as bad, from where I sit, as among "conservatives," but they are definitely there; the main difference between the two groups of authoritarians is which team they root for.
Alan, you seem to be intellectually lazy, but I doubt you're stupid. I could see someone making your "My Cousin Vinny" reference carelessly, but when you're called on it, unless you're just absolutely trying to be an asshole, I think the only reasonable response from a non-authoritarian mindset is something along the lines of, "Yeah, that comment is not a good look for a Supreme Court Justice."
And then there's your response.