Justice Samuel Alito Jr. poses for a portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court June 1, 2017 in the nation’s capital. Alito was appointed to the court by former President George W. Bush in 2006
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said he was resolute not to answer questions on overturning Roe v. Wade in his first public remarks since the leaked draft opinion.
During virtual remarks before students at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, Alito was asked whether the justices all still maintained a cordial relationship.
‘I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear, personally, are you all doing okay in these very challenging times?’ the questioner asked, according to the Washington Post.
‘This is a subject I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about today regarding, you know — given all the circumstances,’ Alito replied.
After a moment of silence, he added: ‘The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work. We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out.’
Alito spoke virtually from a room in the Supreme Court rather than in person in front of the crowd, as justices have canceled in-person appearances and hired extra security since the leak of their likely Roe v. Wade reversal, authored by Alito, rocked the nation.
Still, protesters showed up outside the ticketed event, the fourth annual Scalia forum.
The court gathered for the first time on Thursday since the leak. Alito detailed the court’s schedule to get work done by end of June or early July, concluding: ‘So that’s where we are.’
The release of the draft, which indicated that five of the nine justices are in favor of overturning Roe and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey prompted fiery protests throughout the country and even at the homes of justices, including Alito. It has prompted liberal states like New York and California to expand abortion rights and prep for an onslaught of out-of-state abortion seekers and conservative states to ready their own abortion restrictions.
Anti-demonstration fences have gone up around the Supreme Court building, and more demonstrations are expected over the weekend as the Women’s March descends on Washington, D.C.
Pro-choice demonstrators gather outside Justice Samuel Alito’s home in Alexandria, Virginia
‘Don’t like me at your house? Get out of my Uterus’ reads the sign of one protester outside Alito’s home in the Fort Hunt neighborhood of Alexandria
Pro-abortion protests are expected at the homes of conservative justices
Alito fans show their support for the justice following the leak of his controversial opinion regarding Roe v Wade
The Senate failed to codify abortion rights on Wednesday when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined all Republicans in voting against the Women’s Health Protection Act.
The leaked opinion came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization about Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Five of the conservative justices signaled their approval of overturning Roe, while Chief Justice John Roberts wanted to uphold the 15-week ban but keep Roe in place.
Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the leak but stressed that it was not the court’s final decision. The Supreme Court is set to release one or more online opinions on Monday, according to its online calendar. A ruling on the Dobbs case however has not been scheduled and could come any time before the end of the term this summer.
Alito spoke before the group of students to discuss Scalia’ impact on textualism before the court, a concept that relies more on the exact text of a law than Congress’ intent behind it.
Students in New York City demand ‘abortion on demand and without apology’
It us a concept Alito believes in, but he said it led to an incorrect decision in a case that the court decided entitled LGBTQ+ people to protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
AIito disagreed with the majority opinion in Bostock v. Clay County, written by one of the court’s most conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch wrote that Title VII, which prohibits discrimination ‘because of sex,’ includes gay and transgender people. Alito called Gorsuch a ‘colleague and friend’ but said that the decision, reached under textualist interpretation, is ‘in my view indefensible.’
‘It is inconceivable that either Congress or voters in 1964 understood discrimination because of sex to mean discrimination because of sexual orientation, much less gender identity,’ Alito said. ‘If Title VII had been understood at that time to mean what Bostock held it to mean, the prohibition on discrimination because of sex would never have been enacted. In fact, it might not have gotten a single vote in Congress.’