Alito is reluctant to discuss the state of the Supreme Court after the Roe leak

Alito is reluctant to discuss the state of the Supreme Court after the Roe leak

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In his first public address since the explosive leak of a draft Supreme Court advisory opinion, he wrote that he would faint Roe v. calfJudge Samuel A. Alito Jr. stormed through a detailed examination of legal textualism and renewed a disagreement over the court’s decision that federal discrimination law protects gay and transgender workers.

But he was a little taken aback by the closing audience question from a crowd at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School: Are he and the other judges somewhere where they could have a nice meal together?

“I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear in person, are you all doing well during these very challenging times?” asked the questioner.

The Supreme Court is poised to rule Roe v. knocking down Wade, as the leaked draft shows

The fact that Alito was not speaking in person but via a closed circuit from a Supreme Court room seven miles away was a sign these are not normal times.

“That’s a topic I told myself I’m not going to talk about today, you know — considering the circumstances,” Alito replied.

After a pause, he added: “The court now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our job. We’re taking new cases, we’re nearing the end of our term, which is always a hectic time when we’re voicing our opinions.”

The court met Thursday for the first time since the draft opinion was leaked to Politico, and the court’s chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., began a leak investigation.

Supreme Court to examine leaked draft abortion opinion

After detailing the timeline for court work to be completed by late June or early July, Alito skipped the usual standard clauses judges use to disagree about the law but remain respectful and friendly.

Instead, he concluded, “So here we are.”

The disclosure of the draft opinion, which shows that at least five members of the court voted, at least provisionally, to set aside roe‘s abortion right guarantee has rocked the court, which prides itself on private deliberations. Demonstrators demonstrated outside Alito’s home, not far from the George Mason campus, and were in force ahead of Thursday’s paid event, the fourth annual Scalia Forum.

As attendees attended the law school event, about two dozen protesters on either side of the abortion issue shouted chants outside in a campus square near the law school building in Arlington, Virginia.

“Hey hey, ho ho, Alito has to go! Hey hey, ho ho, we gotta defend Roe!”

The group consisted mostly of George Mason students who skipped studying for the final exams to demonstrate.

“I had an exam last night and I have an exam tomorrow,” said Adam Rizzoli, a 19-year-old freshman from Vienna, Virginia. But, he added, some things are more important than grade point averages. “Sometimes you just have to act.”

Several students traveled from the university’s main campus in Fairfax to denounce the school’s decision to accept Alito and to express their support for abortion rights.

“As a Masonic student, supporting a judiciary that supports outdated constitutional interpretations at the expense of women everywhere feels like a slap in the face,” said Emily Williams, 21, a junior.

A group of five anti-abortion counter-protesters gathered about 30 feet from the other group. Christine Gomez, 20, a sophomore at Northern Virginia Community College and a member of Students for Life of America, shouted through a megaphone, briefly covering the voices of the original group.

“Abortion is violence! Abortion is oppression!”

Gomez, who studies psychology, said she wanted to come to George Mason’s campus to make sure her side of the abortion debate was heard.

Alyssa Thoburn, a freshman studying criminal justice at Liberty University, echoed Gomez.

“People think we hate women, some people say we’re against birth control,” Thoburn said. “We just want people to have the right to life.”

Alito’s topic centered on how Scalia, who died in 2016, had changed the court’s methods of reviewing federal laws, placing far more emphasis on the text of the law than on the intent of Congress. It’s a method he prefers, Alito said, but it has been misapplied in the gay rights case. Bostock vs. Clayton County.

In this case, the court ruled 6-3 that a landmark 1960s federal civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers, a watershed event for LGBTQ rights penned by one of the court’s most conservative judges, Neil M. Gorsuch.

Gorsuch and Roberts concurred with the ruling of the court’s Liberals. They said that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex,” includes gay and trans employees.

Gorsuch is a “colleague and friend,” Alito said, and someone he loves to have on the pitch. But he said the decision, based solely on the text of the law, was “unjustifiable in my view.”

While he said he doesn’t defend past actions, Alito said it was clear that Congress permitted and practiced discrimination at the time.

“It is inconceivable that either Congress or voters in 1964 understood sex discrimination as discrimination based on sexual orientation, let alone gender identity,” Alito said. “If Title VII had been understood then, what would have meant Bostock Understood in this way, the ban on sex discrimination would never have been enacted. In fact, it might not have gotten a single vote in Congress.”

He said the majority cited a statement written by Scalia to justify their decision, but he believed they misunderstood it.

“I just wish Nino was here to enlighten us,” Alito said. If Scalia said Alito was wrong, “I would take that assessment in good spirits and learn from the exchange,” the judge said.

Nicole Asbury and Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.

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