Alito skips conference appearance after draft opinion disclosure

The draft opinion published by POLITICO sparked outrage across the country this week, as Americans anticipated the court’s reversal of the 1973 landmark decision. Fifty percent of voters oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll published this week.

Barricades now line the front of the Supreme Court’s steps, blocking protesters from getting closer to the chambers, and law enforcement officials across the country are bracing for potential unrest and violence.

Other justices moved forward with scheduled appearances this week. Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking at a judicial conference Thursday in Atlanta, called the disclosure of the opinion “absolutely appalling” and said he hopes it doesn’t change Americans’ perception of the nation’s highest court, according to CNN.

Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at a different conference in Atlanta on Friday, though he didn’t explicitly mention the abortion case.

“They can’t be institutions that give you outcomes that you want every time,” Thomas said, according to Bloomberg Law. “And they can’t be bullied into giving you a particular outcome. An institution has to have civility. And I think you’re losing that in this country.”

Protest groups have directed demonstrators to gather outside justices’ private residences, including Alito’s. White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said President Joe Biden is urging protesters to be peaceful.

“His message directly would be to anybody out there who is feeling that frustration, is participating in peaceful protest, is: Ensure it’s peaceful; have your voice heard peacefully,” Psaki said. “We should not be resorting to violence in any way, shape, or form. That’s certainly what he would be conveying.”

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