Jul 29, 2022 - World

Alito mocks world leaders who criticized Supreme Court abortion ruling

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito has mocked world leaders who criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade as he railed against what he called "a growing hostility to religion" in the West.

Why it matters: The Catholic justice's remarks at a religious freedom conference in Rome mark the first time he's publicly commented on last month's majority ruling that effectively ended all federal protections on abortion.

What he's saying: In last week's address in Italy's capital that was published online by event sponsor the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, Alito acknowledged the global backlash to the Supreme Court decision.

  • "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," the George W. Bush-appointed justice said.
  • "One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price," quipped Alito, in reference to the British leader's announcement earlier this month that he'll step down.
  • Alito noted that French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also denounced the Supreme Court ruling, "are still in office."

Of note: Alito also made jokes about Britain's Prince Harry speaking in a United Nations address earlier this month about "the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States" and Russia's war on Ukraine marking "a painful year in a painful decade."

  • "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," Alito said. "Despite this temptation, I’m not going to talk about cases from other countries."

The big picture: The Supreme Court's ruling means the U.S. is now one of only four countries to have rolled back abortion rights since 1994 — the others being El Salvador, Nicaragua and Poland, Axios' Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath notes.

  • Human rights groups and global leaders have warned the court's ruling could have far-reaching consequences for reproductive rights around the world.

Flashback: Justice Alito cancels conference appearance days after abortion ruling leak

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