Samuel Alito cancels appearance at judicial conference after abortion draft leaked

Alito had been set to appear at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' judicial conference

By Alex Henderson

Published May 5, 2022 5:12PM (EDT)

Samuel Alito (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Samuel Alito (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

During the 2000s and 2010s, some of the most talked-about majority opinions coming from the U.S. Supreme Court were being written by Justice Anthony Kennedy — a right-wing libertarian and Ronald Reagan appointee who was fiscally conservative but was protective of abortion rights, gay rights and other civil liberties. Now, in early May 2022, the most talked-about majority opinion is one from socially conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who makes an argument for overturning Roe v. Wade in a leaked majority opinion first reported by Politico. And Alito, according to Reuters reporter Nate Raymond, has canceled an appearance at a judicial conference following Politico's bombshell reporting.

Raymond reports, "Alito had been set to appear at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' judicial conference, a gathering of judges from the New Orleans-based federal appeals court and the district courts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, a person familiar with the matter said. But he has since canceled, the person said, and Patricia McCabe, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, (May 4) said he was not attending. The spokesperson gave no reason for why Alito, who is the justice assigned to hear emergency appeals from the 5th Circuit, was not going."

The conference is set to begin on Thursday, May 5, according to Raymond.

Alito's draft opinion was written back in February, but it didn't become public knowledge until Politico reported on it on Monday night, May 2. Abortion rights protests have erupted all over the United States, from Seattle to Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Atlanta, following that bombshell.

"The unprecedented leak from the High Court sent shock waves through the United States," Raymond notes. "U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, on (May 3), confirmed the draft's authenticity but emphasized it was not final, and said the Court will investigate the leak, which he called a 'betrayal.'"

Alito, a George W. Bush appointee, joined the High Court in January 2006 and has represented the Court's theocratic wing, along with Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Alito, during the Bush and Barack Obama years, often had major disagreements with Kennedy, Justice Stephen Breyer and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and his leaked draft opinion in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade shows how vehemently he disagrees with the right-to-privacy doctrine that Kennedy, along with Ginsburg and Breyer, championed during his decades on the High Court.

In the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Alito declares, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start…. We hold that Roe and (Planned Parenthood v.) Casey must be overruled."


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Alternet Bombshell Cancels Judicial Conference Nate Raymond Roe V. Wade Samuel Alito Supreme Court