Justice Alito’s Secret Speech ‘Spiking the Ball’ on Revoking Abortion Seen as Worsening Court’s ‘Credibility Crisis’
One week ago conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito delivered a speech in Rome on religious liberty that is being denounced from the left and the right as furthering the Court’s “credibility crisis” while further placing the 72-year-old Bush appointee’s judgment into question.
Alito delivered the keynote address at the University of Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Summit gala dinner on July 21. The invitation-only speech at the event hosted by the 153-year-old Catholic institution was not announced in advance to the public, nor even made known until one week later, when the law school posted a news release and full video of the speech. The Supreme Court Justice was not on the schedule of speakers posted online, as Reuters’ Lawrence Hurley, who covers the Supreme Court, noted on social media.
While it’s unclear why the speech was kept secret, American media was quick to latch onto some of Alito’s remarks but did not do a deep dive into the 35 or so minute-long speech, which has raised eyebrows and elicited anger among legal experts, court watchers, and the general public.
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CNN and Politico noted Alito lambasted several foreign critics of his majority opinion rescinding five decades of settled U.S. law in the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, revoking the constitutional right to abortion and opening the door to further assaults on liberty and autonomy.
His targets were not opinion writers or pundits, but political leaders of America’s top allies.
Alito mocked the embattled, now former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, robustly declaring, “he paid the price.”
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Politico added that Alito “went on to note that President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada ‘are still in office’ despite the salvos they launched at the ruling.”
And he went after Britain’s Prince Harry, falsely characterizing the Duke’s remarks.
“What really wounded me 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,” Alito said. “Despite this temptation, I’m not going to talk about cases from other countries.”
In his Rome speech on religious liberty, Justice Alito mocked “foreign leaders” who condemned his opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, including Boris Johnson, Macron, Trudeau, and … Prince Harry.
Of Boris, Alito quipped: “He paid the price.” https://t.co/NPqalw0KA6 pic.twitter.com/xC0qguZ31n
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 28, 2022
And while mainstream media focused on some of the low-hanging fruit in his remarks, others who apparently watched his speech, posted by Notre Dame, expressed outrage at what they seem to see as his intolerance of freedom of and from religion, intolerance toward women, and mocking of those who dare criticize his attack on the right to abortion.
READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Prayed With Evangelical Group Whose Legal Brief Was Cited to Overturn Roe Says Christian Activist: Report
NYU professor Barbara Malmet, an artist, activist, triathlete, and producer who has a huge Twitter following, did not hold back in denouncing Alito’s remarks.
“Alito working the room, basking in the laughs. Bearded, in a tux, at a religious liberty speech in Rome. He thinks it’s a fucking joke that women no longer have agency over their own bodies in many states in America because of his own religious beliefs?” she tweeted.
Hours later she again commented, this time writing, “I am still spinning about Alito in Rome at a Notre Dame event, cracking jokes about his devastating abortion ruling while women are reeling here.”
Well-known economist David Rothschild, an avid commentator, attacked Alito and his audience: “Cannot get over mix of arrogance, entitlement, general derision towards American people & democracy that Republican Partisan Hack in Robes Alito showed in speech trashing foreign leaders in Rome to laughing audience of (what I can only assume) are also authoritarian misogynists.”
Novelist, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter Paul Rudnick: “Samuel Alito made a speech in Rome praising the repeal of Roe and condemning the left for a ‘hostility to religion.’ Alito uses his faith to punish women and he wants to not only ban marriage equality but criminalize LGBTQ lives. His religion is a weapon of mass destruction.”
Conservative attorney John David Dyche: “Regardless of one’s view on Dobbs it is hard to see how an arrogant & injudicious Alito ‘spiking the ball’ in political comments at a Notre Dame event in Rome will do anything but further erode public confidence in a court already diminished by a multi-faceted credibility crisis.”
Jezebel editor-in-chief Laura Bassett wrote: “This was Alito’s speech in Rome about ‘religious freedom.’ And it always boggles my mind that to these guys, religious freedom doesn’t apply to anyone but those in their own religion.”
Award-winning investigative reporter Paul Barry: “If Justice Alito wants to claim overturning Roe v Wade was based entirely on law, it’s maybe better not to do it at a conference on religious freedom in Rome.”
Veteran journalist Jim Roberts: “In a speech in Rome, the obviously shameless Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito jokes about the overseas reaction to the Roe v. Wade ruling that he authored.”
Other social media critics were equally angered.
“Who the hell is responsible for holding SCOTUS justices accountable, because there’s no way alito should be in Rome behaving like a GOP congressman.”
“What an undignified, crass, embarrassment to the country this smug, condescending seditionist is. Whoever imagined a (laughably ‘impartial’) SCOTUS Justice, out taking *political* shots at America’s allies? Absolutely unacceptable.”
“Wow! We’re not even pretending that the Supreme Court is not political. Alito is having a good old time in Rome mocking the loss of reproductive rights for US women.”
“Justice Samuel Alito is a dangerous clown who should be nowhere near our SCOTUS. Going to Rome to speak on ‘religious liberty’ as he wages a war on women, and then criticizes our allies?? WTF. He’s an embarrassment to the United States.”
“Christian Dominionism, anyone? With a side of gaslighting and projection, and snark as an aperitif.”
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Donald Trump Indicted by Manhattan Grand Jury on Felony Charges: NYT
Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury investigating his role in a hush money payoff scheme that allegedly was designed to aid his election chances in 2016, according to multiple news reports.
“Mr. Trump will be the first former president to face criminal charges. The precise charges are not yet known, but the case is focused on a hush-money payment to a porn star during his 2016 campaign,” The New York Times was first to report. “The unprecedented case against Trump will have wide-ranging implications.”
CNN, citing sources, also reports Trump has been indicted.
Trump’s attorney, Susan Necheles, confirms to CBS News’ Graham Kates that the ex-president has been indicted.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated.
Image via Shutterstock
New Poll Sends Trump Damning Message About 2024 if He’s Criminally Indicted
Biden Beats Trump – But Barely – in Latest Poll
A new Quinnipiac poll is offering damning news to Donald Trump: The majority of Americans think he should not even be allowed to run for president if criminal charges are filed against him.
That majority, 57%, includes nearly nine in ten Democrats (88%), more than half (55%) of independents, and even close to one-quarter (23%) of Republicans.
“Yes, say Americans, it was all about him and not the country’s well-being when Trump proclaimed he was targeted for arrest,” says Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. “And, yes he should be forever banished from office if he is charged as a criminal.”
The poll serves up even more bad news for the ex-president. Despite the right’s attempts to paint Trump’s alleged hush money payoff as a mere bookkeeping issue, or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg‘s case against him, as one GOP lawmaker said recently, “wrongful persecution,” the majority of Americans – 55% – say the accusations against Trump are “serious.”
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Conservatives’ attempts to paint the investigation as political, however, appear to be working, at least among Republicans and independents.
More than nine out of ten Republicans (93%) and 70% of independents say they believe the investigation is motivated by politics, while two-thirds of Democrats (66%) say it is motived by the law.
Still more troubling news for the Trump team.
Exposing the growing partisan divide across the country, the majority of Americans, nearly six in ten (58%) say Trump has had a mainly negative impact on the Republican Party.
But inside the GOP, the view is far different.
The vast majority of Republicans (72%) say Trump has had a positive impact. Just 21% say he has had a negative impact. (The poll does not appear to take into account former Republicans who left the GOP because of Trump.)
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Echoing the “positive impact” they believe Trump has had on their party, 79% of registered Republicans say they are supporters of his MAGA movement. The poll does not appear to define “support,” nor the various “levels” of support some Republicans now express, including “ultra MAGA.”
Meanwhile, when offered a choice between Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, or 11 other Republican candidates or potential candidates, Trump gets a plurality of voters: 47%. DeSantis gets one-third, 33%. Pence gets just 5%, and Haley – who has already officially declared she is running – gets even less, at 4%.
There’s little change when GOP voters are asked who they would choose in a head-to-head matchup between Trump and DeSantis. Trump gets 52%, DeSantis 42%.
And even more bad news for Team Trump: In a head-to-head matchup among registered voters, President Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump, although by a slim margin: 48% to 46%.
There is one piece of good news for the DeSantis campaign, which technically does not exist yet. DeSantis would beat Biden, also by a slim margin: 48% to 46%.
But some believe DeSantis will not run, especially given his poor campaign pre-launch. Others, like top Trump critic and former Republican George Conway, say DeSantis shouldn’t even bother.
“It makes no sense for DeSantis to run this cycle,” Conway said Thursday morning, unrelated to the Quinnipiac poll. “To beat Trump, DeSantis would have to go hammer and tong in a one-on-one race against him. DeSantis isn’t capable of that, it isn’t going to be one-on-one, and even if he were and it was, DeSantis would end up alienating a good chunk of the GOP base. And no matter what, Trump would try to destroy the GOP if it ever became clear he wouldn’t get the nomination. Trump would run as a third-party candidate to take the GOP nominee down. The smart play for DeSantis is to fleece donors by pretending to run, and pocket the cash for 2028, when he’ll still be only 49.”
House Republican Suggests Coordinating With Trump Legal Team Over Bragg’s ‘Wrongful Persecution’
Republicans are stepping up their war against Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg as he considers charges against Donald Trump.
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has already called for committees to delve into Bragg’s investigation of Trump’s hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and GOP lawmakers are weighing subpoenas for the county prosecutor to testify about his probe, reported The Daily Beast.
“It is pretty clearly a wrongful persecution of a free American citizen who happens to be the former president of the United States,” Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) told the website. “Because of those circumstances, I think it’s appropriate for Congress to inquire into what drove that decision making process for Bragg.”
Higgins suggested that Republicans would coordinate their timing on a potential Bragg subpoena with the former president’s legal team to avoid interfering with their defense.
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“[A subpoena] would be an interesting conversation amongst my colleagues,” he said, “[but] the appropriate timing of something like that should include consideration whether or not that case is moving towards permanent closure, and allow that to happen.”
However, other Republicans are pressing for a more extreme response to Bragg’s grand jury investigation, which some of them have suggested is funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
“It’s time to arrest Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for prosecutorial misconduct after hiding hundreds of pages of exculpatory evidence,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. “Bragg is on the verge of indicting an innocent former President and top Presidential candidate against the opposing ruling party. Bragg is breaking the law and trying to incite civil unrest with his Soros funded political war. Hold him accountable!”
Republican senators don’t have the power to go after Bragg as the minority party, and some House Republicans seem to think their pressure has already had an effect on Bragg’s probe.
“But you know, [Bragg] seems like he’s kind of, you know, maybe, I don’t know, maybe backed off a little bit,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX). “But we’ll have to see, we’ll see what he does.”
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