Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has fired back at the leaker of his draft opinion on the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Alito blasted the leak as a “grave betrayal” that has put the lives of the SCOTUS’s conservative justices at risk.
Speaking during an appearance at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Alito held nothing back, saying the leak made the justices who were behind the decision “targets for assassination.”
He warned that it gave some people the belief they could change the Supreme Court’s opinion through violence.
“It was a great betrayal of trust by somebody, and it was a shock, because nothing like that had happened in the past, so it certainly changed the atmosphere at the court for the remainder of last term,” Alito said.
“The leak also made those of us who were thought to be in the majority in support of overruling Roe and Casey targets for assassination, because it gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.
“But that was last term,” he noted.
“Now we’re in a new term.
“But to say that the court is exhibiting a lack of integrity is something quite different.
“That goes to character, not to a disagreement with the result or the reasoning.
“Someone also crosses an important line when they say that the court is acting in a way that is illegitimate.
“I don’t think anybody in a position of authority should make that claim lightly.”
“It was a real thrill to argue cases in the Supreme Court… Even though I had been in court a lot, I felt a little bit nervous during my first argument.”
Watch Justice Samuel Alito share thoughts, stories from his career, and remarks LIVE: https://t.co/2KvE4HGyac pic.twitter.com/7fr1dU5Hq7
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) October 25, 2022
Alito was taking a veiled swipe at some liberal justices, according to CNN:
Alito did not directly refer to his colleagues, but over the summer recess, Justice Elena Kagan did speak about how overturning precedent was a factor that could call into question the legitimacy of the court.
“I think judges create legitimacy problems for themselves – undermine their legitimacy – when they don’t act so much like courts and when they don’t do things that are recognizably law,” she said before an audience in New York.
Last week, Kagan again spoke about the importance of respecting prior cases. Without mentioning Roe and speaking generally, she said, “You know, people depend on law. People rely on law.”
“You know if you give people a right, and then you take the right away. Well, in the meantime, they’ve understood their lives in a different kind of way,” she said before an audience at the University of Pennsylvania.
Earlier in his remarks on Tuesday, Alito talked in general terms about overturning precedent and a respect for the legal doctrine called “stare decisis” – which means to “stand by things decided.” He said that while it is “not an inexorable command,” it remains “important.”
“We follow precedent most of the time,” he said.
#SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito on Tuesday called the state of free speech on college and law school campuses 'dangerous' and 'abysmal,' amid a boycott by other conservative jurists against hiring clerks from his alma mater, Yale Law Schoolhttps://t.co/egf1ZtXk9C @nateraymond pic.twitter.com/YFkcQndZ7s
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) October 26, 2022