Alito lashes out at critics: 'Questioning our integrity crosses an important line'
Samuel Alito (Photo by Nicholkas Kamm for AFP)

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito this week responded to criticism from his liberal counterparts on the nation’s highest court.

“It goes without saying that everyone is free to express disagreement with our decisions and to criticize our reasoning as they see fit,” Alito told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “But saying or implying that the court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning our integrity crosses an important line.”

CNN noted that it “is rare for a justice to issue such a statement when asked for comment about an ongoing controversy.”

Earlier this year, Justice Elena Kagan said that the Supreme Court was losing its connection with the public. “That is a dangerous thing for democracy,” she added.

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The conservative-dominated court has faced intense criticism after overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion, saying that individual states can now permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the court said.

In the majority opinion, Alito said "abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.

"The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion," he said.

The opinion shredded the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by the nation's highest court that said women had the right to abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy over their own bodies.

The ruling was made possible by the nomination of three conservative justices to the court by former Republican president Donald Trump -- Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

With additional reporting by AFP