Samuel Alito mocked foreign critics for the repeal of the Roe v. Wade in Rome on religious freedom

Justice Samuel Alito, appearing in public for the first time since offering a reversal of Roe v. Wade, mocked foreign criticism of the decision in a speech in Rome.

Alito – new beard – gave a talk primarily dedicated to defending religious freedom last week, but it was only released on Thursday by Notre Dame Law School.

“Religious freedom is being attacked in many places because it is dangerous for those who want to be in full power,” Alito said. He added: “It can also develop from something dark and deep in human DNA – a tendency to distrust and dislike people who are not like us.

His speech comes a month after the end of a blockbuster term in which a majority court not only ended federal abortion rights but ruled in favor of religious conservatives. in two cases.

Alito delivered the keynote speech for the Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Freedom Initiative. Much of the speech was devoted to a broad discussion of how religious freedom has been challenged throughout history.

Alito did not discuss the abortion decision leak he wrote – Dobbs v. Jackson – last May, and only indirectly referenced the final version, which he called the “may not” opinion. named.”

He did so by expressing disagreement with foreign leaders who criticized this view.

Alito said: “I am honored to write this article.

He noted that one of the critics was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced his plans to step down in early July, days after the comments were made.

“He paid the price,” Alito said with laughter and applause. He also criticized French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for their critical comments.

With irony, Alito told the audience that what really “hurts” him was when Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, “speaks before the United Nations and seems to compare ‘the decision may not be’ named’ with Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”

Returning to the issue of religious freedom, Alito said that one challenge is to “convince people that religious freedom is worth defending if they don’t think religion is a good thing worth defending.”

He said such an effort might require a focus on how religion promotes “peace in the water.”

“It provides a way for people of religious diversity to stick together and thrive,” he said, noting that “the American experience illustrates that well.”

He also points to the great charitable work done by religious groups and people of faith.

In 2021, a court found that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by freezing the contract of a Catholic foster care agency that refused to work with same-sex foster parents because the agency believed marriage must be between a man and a woman. Alito wrote exclusively to complain that the court had not gone far enough in its opinion and should have made it much more difficult for the government to enforce laws that burden certain individuals’ religious beliefs. core.

“The court made an ingenious decision that left religious freedom in a state of confusion and vulnerability,” Alito later wrote.

However, during the term just ended, the court twice ruled in favor of religious conservatives. In one case, it sided with a public high school football coach who sought to pray at 50 yards after games. In another opinion, the state of Maine cannot exclude religious schools from its tuition assistance programs for public and private schools.

Alito concluded his talk in Rome with a biblical reference. He said that “advocates of religious freedom who ‘go out as wise as snakes and harmless as doves’ can expect to find hearts open to their message.”

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