Opinion: Justice Alito’s Careless Comments on Prince Harry and Boris Johnson

In the opening of a sobering speech about the need to protect religious freedom, Alito mocked foreign leaders who criticized the controversial decision he authored in Dobbs v. Jackson, which ended federal abortion rights. last month.

He then told his audience of mostly friendly law professors on a vacation in Rome, “It is my honor to write this term, I think, the sole decision of the Supreme Court. in the history of that institution has been criticized by a whole host of foreign leaders who feel perfectly fine to comment on American law…”

“One of these is former Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” Alito said before pausing for comedy. “But he paid the price,” he continued, in reference to Johnson’s resignation in the first day of this month.

No doubt emboldened by the scattered laughter and light applause inspired by Boris Johnson’s sniper shot, Alito then continued with a completely baseless comment. “But what really hurt me, what really hurt me, was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision, who may not be named, to the attack. of Russia into Ukraine.”

Comments Ukraine suggest There was an uncomfortable silence, which seemed to indicate that the audience was confused as to whether the story was meant to be humorous or merely a reflection of Alito’s seemingly low opinion of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.
Samuel Alito mocked foreign critics for the repeal of the Roe v.  Wade in Rome on religious freedom

Alito’s comments about the Prime Minister and the Duke of Sussex do not sit well with any Supreme Court Justice speaking abroad or for that matter, even in the United States. Courts often refuse to rule on matters relating to foreign policy because the Constitution typically leaves these matters solely to the president, with occasional advice and consent from Congress. The Constitution makes no mention of itinerant Supreme Court Justices attacking foreign leaders who disagree with the court’s statements.

This is a critical moment for the Supreme Court’s reputation and stability, in the face of considerable anger among many Americans regarding the reversal of Roe v. Wade after 49 years. There have been “court packing” proposals supported by many in Congress. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden have suggestions a commission to research ideas. The proposal would increase the number of Supreme Court justices, thereby undermining the power of the court’s current conservatives.

With his speech in Rome, Alito proved that he was not Antonin Scalia, whose wit and grace in public appearances impressed many, including those who disagreed. with his conservative politics.

A lot of Americans must have been surprised that Alito or any other Supreme Court justice would be allowed to comment publicly on a recent Supreme Court decision. The congressional televised hearings involving nominees appointed to the Supreme Court have taught Americans that they will always refuse or deflect direct answers regarding any any matter that may be brought before the court.

His own confirmation hearing in 2006, Alito deflected the question about Roe v Wade with a version of the answer given by many other conservative candidates before the court saying the decision was “an important precedent for the Court.” Supreme Court” and “it’s been in the books for a long time. time.” This answer was later supplemented by a comment by Alito suggesting that he would not pre-commit his position in future cases because he did not want any litigants to believe that he decided on a case without hearing the truth first.

Many Americans were probably shocked to hear a Supreme Court judge give a public address of any kind. Although judges occasionally give public statements, they are usually very careful to avoid any discussion of issues related to pending or impending cases. . And abortion-related issues are always on the radar of federal courts across the country during their journey to the Supreme Court. The Dobbs v. Jackson case will not end litigation regarding the nuances of abortion-related laws across the country.

Public trust in the court does not require judges to avoid all speech, but it does require them to be reasonable and discreet on the topics of their choice. Alito demonstrated extremely poor judgment when discussing the Roe v. Wade abroad, even in jest, while abortion-related cases are pending in the United States. Discussions concerning this important issue by Supreme Court justices should take place in the open and public courtrooms of the United States rather than before a private group in the auditorium of a foreign country. .

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