Four Supreme Court justices honored at conservative Federalist Society dinner



Four U.S. Supreme Court justices were honored at a gala dinner Thursday night sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society.

All were part of a 5-4 majority that voted in June to strike down the Roe v. Wade precedent guaranteeing a constitutional, nationwide right to abortion, a ruling that received vocal applause from the 2,000 or so people attending the event in Washington.

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Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the Dobbs opinion, which returned abortion laws to the states, spoke briefly but did not mention the case. 

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Jr is seen during a group portrait session for the new full court at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2018.
( REUTERS/Jim Young)

“Boy, is your work needed today,” said Alito, who joined the high court in 2006. “Congratulations to the Federalist Society on 40 years.”

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett also spoke after receiving a standing ovation, noting the protests outside the private residence of some justices after the abortion decision was handed down.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett smiles after a public conversation with Board of Trustees Chairman Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., Monday, April 4, 2022.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett smiles after a public conversation with Board of Trustees Chairman Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., Monday, April 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

“It’s really nice to have a lot of noise not made by protesters outside of my house,” said Barrett, who joined the high court in 2020.

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The evening appearance of the conservative justices was not announced publicly in advance.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who along with Barrett were nominated to the bench by President Trump, also appeared at the black-tie dinner but neither spoke.

In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, Supreme Court Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, left, and Brett Kavanaugh watch as President Donald Trump arrives to give his State of the Union address to a joint session on Congress at the Capitol in Washington. 

In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, Supreme Court Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch, left, and Brett Kavanaugh watch as President Donald Trump arrives to give his State of the Union address to a joint session on Congress at the Capitol in Washington. 
(Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

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Justice Clarence Thomas, who also voted in the majority to strike down Roe, did not appear at the Federalist Society event. The legal and academic group has been instrumental over the years in promoting a conservative view of the law and Constitution, and helping move the federal judiciary to the right.