Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mocked prominent figures around the world for speaking out against the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including Prince Harry and outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In what appeared to be his first public remarks since the decision was issued last month, Alito dismissed criticism from the British duo, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He was the keynote speaker at a conference on religious liberty hosted by the Notre Dame Law School in Rome last week. The school only made the speech available online on Thursday.
Alito, who authored the argument that overturned the landmark ruling that established the right to abortion in the United States, chastised global figures for interfering with “American law.”
“This term, I had the honor of writing, I believe, the only Supreme Court decision in that institution’s history that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders — who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law,” Alito said, prompting laughter from the audience.
“One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,” Alito joked, referring to Johnson’s decision to resign as prime minister in the midst of domestic scandals and widespread criticism of his leadership from within his own Conservative party.
“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 shall not be mentioned,” Alito said, referring to Harry. Despite this temptation, I will not discuss cases from other countries,” Alito added.
During a speech on July 18, Harry referred to 2022 as a “painful year in a painful decade.”
He claimed that the world was “witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom,” citing the “horrific war in Ukraine to the rollback of Constitutional rights here in the United States” as examples.
Meanwhile, Johnson called the decision a “significant step backwards.” A spokesperson for Johnson’s office stated that they had nothing to add to the prime minister’s comments.
They were not alone, with Macron tweeting that abortion was a “fundamental right for all women” that “must be protected,” and Trudeau calling the decision “horrific,” adding, “No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.”
Others, including global women’s health organizations, chimed in.
During his speech in Rome last week, Alito stated, “Despite this temptation, I will not discuss cases from other countries.”
“All I’m going to say is that, ultimately, if we are going to win the battle to protect religious freedom in an increasingly secular society, we will need more than positive law,” he said.
“Religious liberty is an international problem,” Alito said, adding, “but I do think that we Americans can take special pride in our country’s contribution to the development of a global consensus at least on the level of international agreements in support of this fundamental right.”
“Religious liberty is under attack in many places because it is dangerous to those who want complete power,” he explained, adding that “it also probably grows out of something dark and deep in the human DNA, a tendency to distrust and dislike people who are not like ourselves.”
As part of his administration’s response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month aimed at protecting abortion access.
The Supreme Court decision, according to Biden, was “completely wrongheaded” and “extreme.”
“This was not a constitutional decision,” he said. “The court has made it clear that it will not protect women’s rights.”