The U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics, but I guess we aren’t even pretending that’s the case anymore.
At a religious liberty summit in Rome, conservative Justice Samuel Alito mocked foreign leaders who condemned the Supreme Court’s decision last month that overturned Roe v. Wade—a group that included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Harry (sure?), and soon-to-be-former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently resigned following several scandals. Johnson had called the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs a “backwards step,” which—if you know anything about Johnson at all—is pretty humiliating for the U.S.
But Alito used this as his punch line. “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 boasted in his speech. “One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price.”
Of course, Johnson’s exit from government had absolutely nothing to do with his comments on abortion—and frankly, the workings of the British government are so beyond irrelevant here. But we should talk about the fact that a sitting Supreme Court justice is going on an international speech tour bragging about taking away human rights from half of his country.
“What really wounded me,” Alito said sarcastically, “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.”
“The problem that looms is not just indifference to religion, it’s not just ignorance about religion,” he added. “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.”
America’s current situation, of course, has nothing to do with hostility to religion; it’s quite the opposite. A religious minority in America is imposing its beliefs on a population that overwhelmingly supports abortion rights—and pregnant people here are now being forced to give agonizing births to dead fetuses. Women are being forced to bring their own discharge to the hospital to prove they are dying from pregnancy-related infections. Child rape victims are being forced to travel out of state for life-saving abortion care.
But Alito’s Italian stand-up routine came at the expense of millions of people’s lived realities in this country right now—many of whom will die because of his unpopular opinion. I personally don’t find it funny at all.