SCOTUS Justice Amy Coney Barrett Mocks Pro-Life Protesters

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Supreme Court Justices were in attendance at the Federalist Society’s Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner on Thursday in Washington’s Union Station at its first annual convention since the court overturned the Roe v. Wade legislation. The Federalist Society has no partisan affiliation and takes no position in election campaigns, but it is closely aligned with Republican priorities due to its promotion of a conservative view of Constitutional Republic standards.

The legal group is one of the most influential in the country, and Thursday’s dinner celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Federalist Society, which particularly has influence in conservative and Republican circles. The event was held in the main hall at Washington’s Union Station, where the silhouette of James Madison, the group´s logo, was projected on the walls. A group of about 2,000 attended the dinner.

Members of the Federalist society have long criticized the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that had enshrined national legal protections for abortion. The recent overturning of the legislation was decided on a constitutional basis, which means that the issue is returned to the states for each state to decide and legislate.

The court’s conservative majority backed the ruling, which drew intense protest from supporters of universal federal abortion rights, including noisy demonstrations outside of the homes of justices. At the height of the furor, a California man with a handgun was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after the suspect allegedly admitted he planned to kill the judge for backing the abortion ruling.

Honored at the dinner were Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Samuel Alito, who penned the opinion about the ruling was in attendance at the dinner, and spoke to the attendees. Alito did not mention the abortion ruling or other aspects of the court’s work during his brief remarks. “boy, is your work needed today,” Alito said. “congratulations to the Federalist society on 40 years.”

Alito reminisced about eh early days of the Society, “fondly” recalling Federalist Society luncheons at t Chinese restaurant. Alito displayed a fortune cookie he said was from on of those luncheons, which he explained foretold that the group would spread across the nation and would continue its work until no longer needed.

But Stephen Markman, a former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, said that if the ruling were forever associated with Alito, ‘I do not know of any decision on any court by any judge of which that judge could be more proud.’

His comments were met by a standing ovation, with attendees turning to face toward Alito.

At Thursday’s dinner, Justice Amy Coney Barrett took a victory lap alongside Justice Samuel Alito, receiving a standing ovation and thunderous applause at the event on Thursday. Barrett remarks were largely focused on honoring the late Judge Laurence Silberman, who served on D.C.’s federal appeals court and died last month.

In her only mention about the high-profile ruling, Barrett lightly referred to the people who protested outside the judges private residences after the ruling, in an unprecedented attempt to intimidate Supreme Court Justices by gathering at their homes.

“Thank you, it’s really nice to have a lot of noise made that’s not by protesters outside my house,” joked Barrett, referring to the frequent demonstrations over the court’s June ruling that overturned Roe v Wade.

Barrett also said Federalist Society members were important mentors in her career and she “benefitted immensely” form the group.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch also received applause at the annual event of the Federalist Society. Justice Clarence Thomas, the other member of the abortion case majority, was not at the dinner.

The rollback of abortion rights at the federal level is believed to have had a significant role in the recent midterm elections, boosting Democrats who were otherwise struggling to muster enthusiasm in the face of President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings.

The growth of the Federalist Society over the last 40 years was mentioned by Leonard Leo, a long-time conservative legal activist, while serving as a Federalist Society executive helped compile a list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees that former President Donald Trump drew from during his tenure, Daily Mail reports.

Leo also spoke at the event, recalling that the first time he attended the convention’s dinner, the group struggled to fill a hotel ballroom. “Our movement has grown by leaps and bounds, and so has our impact,” he said. “After 40 years, our successes have proliferated.”

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivered the keynote address at the dinner noting that the dinner was held on Veterans Day and saying,” Today is the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery,” and continued, “Republican Congressman Hamilton Fish, himself a veteran of the Great War, authored the bill creating the memorial to ‘an American soldier known but to God.’ Fish explained that the ‘Unknown represents no section, creed, or race,’ but rather ‘typifies…the soul of America.'”

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