Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito used part of the religious freedom keynote he gave last week to joke about the criticism he received from world leaders for overturning the right to abortion in the United States.
Speaking from Rome at an event hosted by Notre Dame Law School, Alito said the abortion rights case prompted “some thoughts” about his belief that US judges had no business criticizing court decisions from other countries.
“I had the honor of writing this mandate, I believe, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of this institution that has been castigated by a whole series of foreign leaders,” he said. , stopping to laugh at the audience, “who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law.
“One of them was a former [British] Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,” Alito said mockingly, prompting more laughter. He cracked a legal joke: “Post hoc ergo propter hoc, right?”
Johnson called the move “a step backwards.” He recently resigned following a series of unrelated scandals.
“But others are still in office,” Alito continued. “President [Emmanuel] Macron and Prime Minister Trudeau, I believe, are two. Canadian Justin Trudeau called the decision “horrible” and the French leader issued a statement expressing his solidarity with Americans “whose freedoms have today been compromised by the Supreme Court of the United States”.
Alito wrote the majority opinion in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, overturning the half-century-old High Court decision in Roe v Wade, which guaranteed abortion rights nationwide. when it was handed down in 1973. The court’s 6-3 decision in the Dobbs case sparked mass protests in the United States and abroad, as Western countries generally moved to increase the access to abortion.
Refraining from explicitly naming the case in his remarks last week, Alito reserved particular derision for Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.
“What really hurt me, what really hurt me, was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name cannot be pronounced with the attack against Ukraine,” Alito said. Laughter and moans could be heard from the audience.
Prince Harry gave a speech in mid-July to mark Mandela Day, a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s work. He said “from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rollback of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global attack on democracy and freedom, the cause of Nelson Mandela’s life.”
Alito went on to say that “despite this temptation”, he was “not going to talk about cases from other countries”.
While his speech claimed to champion religious freedom, he focused almost exclusively on the practice of Christianity. Alito lamented the growing proportion of Americans who say they don’t subscribe to any particular religion. He ended with an antidote to the “dark note” his lyrics had taken in praising the spread of Christianity in China, predicting that the country may soon contain more practicing Christians than America.
The Huffington Gt