Justice Samuel Alito strikes back at Boris Johnson, Prince Harry in religious liberty speech

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Georgetown University Law Center's third annual Dean's Lecture to the Graduating Class in the Hart Auditorium in McDonough Hall February 23, 2016, in Washington, D.C. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At a religious liberty summit in Rome, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito dismissed criticism by foreign leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Harry of the ruling he authored overturning Roe that returned abortion laws back to individual states. 

“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,” Alito said in his first public remarks since the June 24 decision.

Speaking at the conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame Law School on July 21, the justice alluded to Johnson's recent resignation in a quip, saying he “paid the price” for his comments.

Johnson, whose former mistress had an abortion, called the 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overruled Roe v. Wade, “a big step backwards.”

“But what really wounded me — 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 added in the speech. 

When Harry spoke to the U.N. last week, he claimed that returning abortion laws back to the states was “rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States.”

Much like Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called the Supreme Court decision “horrific.”

“My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can't imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now,” Trudeau wrote in a social media post.

New York Democratic U.S.  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Justice Alito’s speech.

“The Supreme Court is in a legitimacy crisis,” she tweeted. “Remember: it was Alito’s opinion that leaked. That fact paired with his politicized remarks ... should be alarming to anyone.”

On religious liberty, Alito said, “The problem that looms is not just indifference to religion. It’s not just ignorance about religion. There’s also growing hostility to religion or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.

“The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection and that will not be easy to do.”

After the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, former first lady Michelle Obama said she was “heartbroken.” 

However, Author and Pastor Rick Warren praised the Supreme Court's decision.

“The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade ending the federal support of abortion! Millions of unborn Americans say thank you!” he wrote on Twitter at the time.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the decision a “massive victory for life” and the beginning of a new chapter in American history.

In a series of tweets, he said decision “will save the lives of millions of innocent babies.”

“The decision reverses one of the most egregious departures from the Constitution and legal precedent the United States has ever seen, and one that has resulted in the deaths of 63 million American children.”

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