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Alito rejects criticism of abortion decision to Roe v. Wade. to roll back

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Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. in a speech in Rome, rejected criticism from foreign officials who he said “disapproved” of his opinion which was overturned Roe v. Wadethe landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

During a speech last week at a conference promoting religious freedom, Alito spoke publicly for the first time about the decision he wrote in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwhich he characterized during his remarks as the case “whose name should not be spoken”.

“I had the honor of writing this term, I believe, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been criticized by a slew of foreign leaders who were fine with commenting on U.S. law,” he said. Alito.

“One of these was former [United Kingdom] Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But he paid the price,” Alito joked, to the applause of the crowd. Johnson has been embroiled in scandal and announced plans to step down this month.

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Alito spoke at the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit on July 21, sponsored by the Religious Liberty Initiative at the university’s law school. It was established in 2020 to “promote religious freedom for people of all faiths through scholarships, events, and the Law School’s Religious Freedom Clinic,” which files files with the Supreme Court.

Judges often don’t announce their speaking engagements in advance, and Alito’s was announced Thursday after the law faculty issued a press release and posted a video of the speech on YouTube.

Alito said he resisted citing examples from other countries where he found defenses of religious freedom insufficient, though he said foreign leaders — he also mentioned French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — criticized the move. court decision to repeal the federal right to abortion.

The decision sent the regulation of abortion back to the states, and since then some have severely restricted the procedure and 11 states have restricted or effectively banned abortion after six weeks, according to abortion rights groups.

The audience laughed at what Alito said sarcastically, the most hurtful criticism, of Britain’s Prince Harry.

“But what really injured me – what really injured me – was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and the decision of whose name should not be spoken seemed akin to the Russian attack on Ukraine,” Alito said.

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Alito often says in speeches that religious freedom is not treated as respectfully as other constitutional rights. But the Supreme Court’s just completed term was nothing short of a complete victory for religious groups. tilt roe was a long-standing goal of religious conservatives, but individually, the court’s six conservative judges consistently sided with the protection of religious faith over concerns about the government’s approval of religion.

It ruled for a coach who was disciplined by his school board for midfield prayers after games, said Boston was not free to turn down a Christian group’s request to hang its flag on City Hall for fear it would be a endorsement of religion would appear if other groups are given the privilege, saying Maine cannot prohibit religious schools from receiving public tuition grants that are extended to other private schools.

Still, Alito said some see religious belief as akin to other enthusiasms, such as support for professional sports teams. He questioned whether some of his dissenting colleagues fully understand the constitution’s protection of religious freedom.

The judge, whose video now shows a beard, offered a hypothetical about three lawyers entering a court requiring the removal of head coverings: a Jew wearing a skullcap, a Muslim wearing a headscarf and a man wearing a Green hat. Bay Packers. When asked whether the man in the Packers cap should be accommodated in the same way as the others, Alito said, “For me, the United States Constitution provides a clear answer.”

He added: “Some of my colleagues are not so sure. But to me, the text tells the story: the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion, it doesn’t support the free exercise of support for the Packers.” Alito didn’t say why he thought some of his colleagues would disagree.

Alito said that for some, the protection of religious freedom is being reduced to freedom of worship. “If you step out into the public square in daylight, you better behave like a good secular citizen,” he said.

Alito said protecting religious freedom is also important for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. “Religious freedom and other fundamental rights often go hand in hand,” he said.

The judges broke up after their rancor hearing, of which the dobbs decision was only one that divided the conservatives and liberals of the court. There are signs that divisions persist.

Kagan says legitimacy questions are risky for Supreme Court

In a speech at a judicial conference last week, liberal judge Elena Kagan said the court’s legitimacy is threatened when a long-standing precedent is overturned and the court’s actions are seen as motivated by staff changes among the judges.

“If the court loses all connection with the public and public sentiment over time, that’s a dangerous thing for democracy,” Kagan said at a conference of judges and lawyers in Montana.

She added: “People are justifiably suspicious when a judge leaves the court or dies and another judge takes his or her place and suddenly the law changes for you.”

At a separate event on Thursday, two other judges took a more conventional and optimistic tone about the court’s work.

In a taped conversation about civic education, judges Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett spoke about their efforts to bridge differences with peers by connecting face-to-face during court lunches and birthday celebrations.

“Each of my colleagues is as passionate about the Constitution, our system of government and getting it right as I am,” Sotomayor said. “We can disagree on how to get there. We often do. But that doesn’t mean I look at them and say, ‘You are bad people.’ I accept that it is a difference of opinion.”

Barrett insisted that the judges “have genuine affection for each other” and said, although she and Sotomayor sometimes disagree, Sotomayor has sometimes persuaded her to change her original position. “We try to work together behind the scenes. We don’t go in to make a decision and be locked up. We work together and talk a lot,” Barrett said. “We’ll change our minds.”

Ann E. Marimow contributed to this report.

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