Samuel Alito mocks reactions to abortion ruling at religious summit
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has not only drawn vehement criticism from Democratic Party members and abortion rights activists in the United States — it has also been condemned by leaders of other major democracies, from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to French President Emmanuel Macron to Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Even on the right, the Dobbs ruling is controversial in Europe; outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a member of the Conservative Party, has blasted the ruling as an assault on human rights.
As unpopular as the Dobbs ruling is in the U.S., it is even more unpopular in Europe. A Morning Consult poll focusing on five European countries found that net favorability of the U.S. had gone down to only 11 percent in early July when Germany, the U.K., Italy, France and Spain are combined. The Dobbs ruling and the massacre in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 were cited as key factors; before those events, the U.S. enjoyed net favorability of around 25 percent in those countries, according to Morning Consult.
But when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito — who wrote the majority opinion in Dobbs — attended the Religious Liberty Summit in Rome in late July, he made it clear that he couldn’t care less what European officials thought of him. Alito gave the keynote address at the event’s gala dinner on Thursday, July 21, and he had a mocking, dismissive tone when discussing the reactions of non-U.S. officials to the Dobbs ruling.
Alito told the crowd, “I had the honor this term of writing I think the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law. One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price.”
Alito’s joke about Johnson drew laughter from attendees. The scandal-plagued British prime minister, who is resigning, slammed the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as a “big step backwards.”
Alito also mocked Prince Harry, who condemned the Dobbs decision during a United Nations speech — saying, “From the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom.”
Alito, in response to Prince Harry’s comments, mockingly told Religious Liberty Summit attendees, “What really wounded me was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine.”
All five of the U.S. Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade after 49 years were appointed by Republican presidents: Alito, Clarence Thomas and Donald Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch. Handed down in 1973, the landmark Roe decision established abortion as a national right. But with Roe having been officially overturned on June 24, individual states in the U.S. now have the option to outlaw abortion — and many of them already have.
One of the dissenters in Dobbs was Justice Elena Kagan, a Barack Obama appointee. At a conference in Montana, Kagan warned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s image has suffered considerably.
“I'm not talking about any particular decision or even any particular series of decisions, but if over time, the Court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that's a dangerous thing for a democracy,” Kagan warned. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor, another Dobbs dissenter and Obama appointee, has even used the word “stench” to describe U.S. public opinion on its High Court.
A Gallup poll released in June found that only 25 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Watch Alito’s Religious Liberty Summit speech below or at this link.
2022 Religious Liberty Summit: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito www.youtube.com
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