Justice Alito cancels scheduled appearance at judicial conference following controversial leak of draft abortion opinion

The militant pro-abortion crowd was immediately outraged and up in arms this week following the leak of a draft copy of an impending Supreme Court ruling on a Mississippi abortion law written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn the federal abortion-legalizing precedent set in 1973 by Roe v. Wade.

Now, amid visceral anger and threats of unrest, it appears that Justice Alito has canceled a previously scheduled appearance Thursday at a judicial conference, the Washington Examiner reported.

Alito was supposed to have attended and participated in the judicial conference that began Thursday for the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a circuit that covers all of the federal district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and to which Alito was assigned to provide oversight.

Appearance canceled at last moment

Reuters was the first to report that Justice Alito would not be in attendance as scheduled for the Fifth Circuit conference this week, an absence that was confirmed to the outlet by a spokesperson for the Supreme Court, though no explanation for the cancellation was given.

It doesn’t take a legal expert to figure out, though, that Alito’s in-person appearance was likely scrapped due to palpable rage expressed and potential threats posed by pro-abortion activists and protesters.

The outlet further noted that both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas are scheduled to appear Thursday and Friday, respectively, at a similar judicial conference for the Eleventh Circuit based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Whether they will still attend or cancel like Alito did remains unclear, though, and neither the Supreme Court nor the Eleventh Circuit provided a direct response to questions from Reuters on that subject.

Investigation launched into the leak, and security around the court building bolstered

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a press release that confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft copy of Justice Alito’s opinion overruling Roe‘s precedent but hastened to add that the court had not yet reached a final decision on the Mississippi abortion case at the heart of the matter.

Chief Justice Roberts announced in a statement that he had assigned the Marshal of the Court to fully investigate the virtually unprecedented leak that he described as a “betrayal” of the court’s integrity and an “egregious breach” of the public trust in the institution.

As for potential threats to the safety of the Supreme Court’s jurists, NBC News reported that workers began to install new security fencing Wednesday night around the federal court building in Washington D.C.

The eight-foot-tall “nonscalable” fencing — similar to what was seen around the Capitol building in the months after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021 — was erected in place of the smaller bike racks that had been hastily deployed around the court Monday night as barriers to hold back growing crowds of angry activists and protesters.

It remains unclear if authorities have become aware of any specific or actionable threats that have been made against any of the justices, but the sudden cancelation of a scheduled appearance by Alito, paired with the bolstered security measures around the Supreme Court itself, seems to suggest that is the case.

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