Prince Harry has been one of a number of prominent world figures mocked by conservative US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito after last month’s ruling that overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision.
The Duke of Sussex had given a speech at the United Nations in July, warning of a “global assault on democracy and freedom” and described 2022 as “a painful year in a painful decade”.
In his speech he referred to the war in Ukraine, climate change and “the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States”, which appeared to reference the abortion ruling.
Now, in his first public remarks since the decision to overturn Roe v Wade, Justice Alito dismissed criticism of the court’s ruling, which has led to various conservative US states imposing abortion bans amid widespread protests.
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Justice Alito hit out at Prince Harry at a conference on religious liberty in Rome hosted by the University of Notre Dame law school.
He noted a wide range of foreign leaders, including British prime minister Boris Johnson, French president Emmanuel Macron and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, had been critical of the court.
“I had the honour this term of writing I think the only supreme court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law,” he said.
“One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,” he joked after the British prime minister described the ruling as a “big step backwards” before announcing he was stepping down in September after criticism about his leadership.
The conservative justice went on to sarcastically refer to Prince Harry, who had referenced the court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion in his UN speech.
“But what really wounded me – 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,” he said.
Mr Macron, whose party is seeking to enshrine the right to abortion in the French Constitution, said at the time of the ruling that abortion was a fundamental right and that women’s freedoms were “compromised” by the Supreme Court, while Mr Trudeau labelled the decision as “horrific”.
The court voted 6-3, along party lines, in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, which involved Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Since the decision, the Supreme Court which is the top court in the US has experienced a slump in public approval according to opinion polls.
Originally published as US supreme court justice mocks Prince Harry criticism of Roe v Wade ruling
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