Justice Samuel Alito Receives Standing Ovation for Overturning Abortion Ruling

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito received a standing ovation from a hall full of lawyers at a black-tie dinner on Nov. 10 for authoring the landmark legal decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The court ruled 5–4 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24 that there is no constitutional right to abortion and returned the regulation of abortion to the states. The decision prompted protests at justices’ homes, a foiled attempt to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and targeted harassment of justices in public by left-wing groups.

The comments took place at a heavily guarded Union Station in Washington at the 40th-anniversary gala banquet for the Federalist Society, a conservative-constitutionalist lawyers’ group that has grown increasingly influential in recent years in the judicial confirmation process. Politico estimated the crowd in attendance at 2,000.

Three other justices who concurred in the Dobbs ruling—Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett—were also in attendance. All three were appointed by former President Donald Trump. Also attending were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the newly reelected Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markham, founder of the Federalist Society’s District of Columbia chapter, said Dobbs would earn Alito a place in history.

“The Dobbs decision will forever be an indelible part of Justice Alito’s legacy,” Markham said to cheers during the dinner.

“I don’t know of any decision, on any court, by any judge, of which that judge could be more proud of that legacy,” he said.

Alito, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, did not reference the Dobbs decision, instead offering lighthearted anecdotes about the group.

“Boy, is your work needed today,” Alito said. “Congratulations to the Federalist Society on 40 years.”

Alito recounted attending a lunch hosted by the group at Tony Chang’s, a Chinese-Mongolian restaurant in Washington. He pulled a fortune from a fortune cookie from his pocket, saying he saved it from a lunch years ago.

By Matthew Vadum

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