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Secret recording of Justice Samuel Alito raises questions about impartiality of Supreme Court

The audio was posted online by liberal documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor, who reportedly posed as a conservative activist at a Supreme Court charity event last week.
Samuel Alito
Posted at 12:28 PM, Jun 11, 2024

A secretly recorded conversation with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is now calling into question his impartiality in politically fraught cases before the nation's highest court.

The edited audio was posted online by liberal documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor, who reportedly posed as a conservative activist at a Supreme Court Historical Society dinner last week. In it, Windsor asks Alito a question about whether the political left and right in the U.S. can ultimately come together.

"One side or the other is going to win," Alito responds, unaware he was being recorded. "I don't know. I mean, there can be a way of working, a way of living together peacefully, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised."

Windsor then told Alito, "I think that the solution really is like winning the moral argument. Like, people in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that, to return our country to a place of godliness."

"I agree," Alito replied.

In another recording, Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, can also be heard complaining about a pride flag in their neighborhood, saying she wanted to fly a Catholic banner in response.

The Alito family has come under scrutiny for displaying flags on their property similar to those carried by supporters of former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. One of the flags seen flying outside Alito's New Jersey beach home has been a symbol associated with a push to remake the U.S. government into one that more closely follows Christian principles.

At the dinner, Windsor also secretly recorded comments from Chief Justice John Roberts, who rejected her suggestion that the court should lead the U.S. on a "Christian" path.

"I don't know if that's true," Roberts responded, also unaware of the recording device.

The Supreme Court Historical Society told the New York Times that it condemned the secret recordings, calling them inconsistent with the spirit of the event. Windsor, a self-proclaimed advocacy journalist, said she paid for the ticket and used her real name to get into the event.

Scripps News has not confirmed the validity of Windsor's recordings, which were pre-edited and obtained from a third party. The methods used by Windsor to acquire the recordings also do not meet the ethical standards set for Scripps News journalists.