Addressing the public for the first time since the Supreme Court draft leak, Justice Samuel Alito, who penned the draft opinion, briefly touched upon the topic during a visit to the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
Alito answered the audience’s questions, speaking remotely from the Supreme Court at the the fourth annual Scalia Forum, according to The Washington Post.
"I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear, personally, are you all doing okay in these very challenging times?" One person asked Alito.
"This is a subject I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about today regarding, you know — given all the circumstances," Alito replied.
"The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work. We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out," he added.
Alito outlined at this forum the court’s plans to get their work done by the end of Just or early July, but The Washington Post noted: "Alito skipped the usual boilerplate that justices tend to employ about disagreeing about the law but remaining respectful and friendly."
"So that’s where we are," he concluded.
Alito’s appearance at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia was met with both pro-abortion and pro-life protestors, who gathered and shouted chants at the attendees as they entered the law school event.
Protests have sprung up across the country in the wake of the leak, with activists picketing outside the homes of conservative justices, including Roberts, who did not support overturning Roe v Wade in the draft opinion.
Also in Thursday’s address, Alito explained statutory textualism, and expressed disagreement over a 2020 Supreme Court ruling stating that federal discrimination law protects gay and transgender workers.
According to The Washington Post: "In that case, the court ruled 6 to 3 that a landmark federal civil rights law from the 1960s protects gay and transgender workers, a watershed ruling for LGBTQ rights written by one of the court’s most conservative justices, Neil M. Gorsuch."
Alito called Gorsuch a "colleague and friend," and someone he is happy to have on the court, But added that the decision of relying on the text of the law alone was "in my view indefensible."
"It is inconceivable that either Congress or voters in 1964 understood discrimination because of sex to mean discrimination because of sexual orientation, much less gender identity," Alito said. "If Title VII had been understood at that time to mean what Bostock held it to mean, the prohibition on discrimination because of sex would never have been enacted. In fact, it might not have gotten a single vote in Congress."