- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito addressed foreign leaders' criticism of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
- Alito called out Prince Harry and Boris Johnson by name at the 2022 Religious Liberty Summit.
- Alito argued that "we will need more than positive law" to "protect religious freedom."
Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito brushed aside criticisms from foreign leaders — including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron — of the Supreme Court's decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Alito, who wrote the June 24 opinion that tossed out the constitutional right to abortion, spoke briefly about the world's reactions to it during a July 21 speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School's Religious Liberty Summit in Rome, Italy. The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling triggered widespread disapproval from abortion-rights supporters at home and abroad.
"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 conservative justice said, referencing the court's reversal of Roe.
"One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price," Alito added, seemingly mocking Johnson's recent decision to step down from office. Johnson had previously called the Supreme Court's decision a "step backwards."
Alito continued: "But others are still in office — President Macron and Prime Minister Trudeau — I believe are two," referring to the French president and Canadian prime minister.
Macron, in response to the court's decision, called abortion "a fundamental right for all women" that "must be protected." Trudeau condemned the ruling as "horrific."
Alito added that he was particularly struck by Prince Harry's recent comments on the ruling.
"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.
During a July 18 speech to the UN, Harry said that 2022 was "a painful year in a painful decade." He then referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine and "the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States" as indicative of "a global assault on democracy and freedom."
"Despite this temptation, I'm not going to talk about cases from other countries," Alito said. "All I am 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."
The Supreme Court's ruling has led to a slew of Republican-led states imposing restrictions on abortion or banning the procedure altogether.
—Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 28, 2022