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Alito and Barrett receive standing ovations from Federalist Society after they overturned abortion precedent

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/11/2022 Kaelan Deese

Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett received standing ovations Thursday evening from members of the conservative Federalist Society at the group's 40th anniversary black-tie gala in the District of Columbia, the first of such annual gatherings since the high court overturned the landmark 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade.

Barrett, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who received a standing ovation shortly after Alito drew applause at the podium, said, “It’s really nice to have a lot of noise made, but not by protesters outside of my house,” a likely reference to protests before and after the abortion ruling this summer, demonstrations prompted in part by a draft leak of the decision in May.

Standing in front of a room filled with hundreds of attendees ranging from prominent conservative lawmakers and attorneys to law students, Barrett shied away from speaking on high court matters but briefly lauded the Federalist Society, noting she had "benefited immensely" from the group, recalling that the late Judge Laurence Silberman had once convinced her to become part of it.

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP

“I have benefited immensely by the efforts of those who put in so much work at the beginning, including my dear Judge Silberman,” Barrett said. Silberman died last month at the age of 86, and she previously clerked for him after attending Notre Dame Law School.

Four of the Supreme Court members who joined the 6-3 June decision allowing states to impose laws limiting abortion access, including Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, attended the event but did not make public remarks. Other notable attendees included Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

Prior to Barrett taking the stage, Alito received a near-minute-long standing ovation from the crowd before he spoke highly of his introduction to the conservative group many years ago, recalling the meals he shared with the Federalist Society's D.C. chapter at a local Chinese restaurant after he had already started his legal career.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP

Holding up a fortune cookie he claimed to have held on to from those meals for years, Alito said, "I’m going to open it and read the fortune."

"I hope it will tell us something about, I hope it will foretell the future of the Federalist Society,” he added before reading from the fortune: "'You will flourish, grow, and travel to all parts of the country. You will spread wisdom and civility, and you will live as long as your work is needed.'"

Alito, the author of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision that curtailed Roe, recently said at a separate event that the ruling made conservative justices "targets for assassination." Kavanaugh was met with a significant threat in June when a California man was arrested outside his home on charges of attempting to kill the justice, in addition to other various threats and demonstrations outside the homes of conservative justices this summer.

The event on Thursday was monitored with an unusually large security detail both inside and outside of Union Station. There was also no notice given about the evening's speakers ahead of the program.

Speaking between the justices Thursday night was Leonard Leo, a longtime conservative legal activist who served as a Federalist Society executive to help form a list of possible Supreme Court nominees that Trump ultimately drew from during his presidency.

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP © Provided by Washington Examiner Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society's 40th Anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2022. Jose Luis Magana/AP

"Our movement has grown by leaps and bounds, and so has our impact," Leo said, saying that for the sake of the nation's future, he hoped to "make this mighty oak and all around it even stronger still."

Trump's three high court confirmations included Gorsuch, Barrett, and Kavanaugh, a trio that locked in a 6-3 Republican-appointed supermajority on the high court and marked a significant legacy installed with the help of McConnell as then-Senate majority leader.

 

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Tags: Supreme Court, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Federalist Society, Washington D.C.

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

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