CNN's Zakaria calls Alito's speech mocking foreign leaders 'disgusting,' 'scandalous'
(The Hill) — CNN host Fareed Zakaria on Sunday slammed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for what he called a “disgusting” and “scandalous” speech last week criticizing foreign leaders who disagreed with his ruling on Roe V. Wade.
Zakaria told Jim Acosta on CNN that Supreme Court justices are supposed to, at the very least, conduct themselves in a way that is above politics, given they are unelected members with life tenure who can decide crucial decisions shaping the lives of millions of Americans.
“The reason they have that legitimacy is, to put it very simply, that they behave themselves, that they behave in accordance with the kind of dignity and majesty of the court,” said Zakaria, who hosts CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
“What Alito did, behaving like a cheap commentator, and not a particularly good one at that, was frankly disgusting. I mean I thought it was the most undignified performance by a Supreme Court justice that I have seen in my lifetime,” he said. “I don’t think any of his predecessors would have done it. I think it’s scandalous.”
Zakaria added that he did not expect formal punishment, but added: “If John Roberts wants to fulfill his role as chief justice, I think he should call Justice Alito in and try to explain to him why it damages not just Alito — who looks like an idiot — but it damages the court.”
During a speech at Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Summit in Rome, Alito mocked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Harry. He also mentioned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron.
All four leaders had sharply criticized the Supreme Court for overturning the nearly 50-year constitutional right to abortion, which Alito seemed to find amusing.
“I’ve had a few second thoughts over the last few weeks since I had the honor 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,” Alito said during his speech.
The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe V. Wade has paved the way for many GOP-led states to ban or severely restrict abortion access across the country, despite around two-thirds of Americans supporting the right to an abortion in some cases.
Trust in the Supreme Court has never been lower, according to polling earlier this month, which found just a quarter of Americans hold confidence in the high court.