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Alito Says SCOTUS Should Push Nation Toward “Godliness” in Secret Recording

One critic described Alito’s cavalier expression of his right-wing views as “deeply troubling” for the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito testifies about the court's budget during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee March 7, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Undercover recordings of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito have revealed troubling biases held by the justice, including the belief that there can be no political compromise with “the left” and that it’s the Court’s duty to steer the country toward “godliness.”

Alito’s comments, which were secretly recorded by liberal documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor and first published in Rolling Stone, come amid controversy regarding his refusal to recuse from upcoming cases despite clear indications of pro-Trump bias.

In a meeting with Alito and other figures at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3, Windsor pretended to be conservative in order to get Alito to share his personal opinions.

When Windsor suggested that it was impossible to “negotiate with the left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end,” and that “it’s a matter of, like, winning,” Alito agreed with those terms.

“I think you’re probably right…one side or the other is going to win,” Alito said.

The associate justice added:

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. It’s not like you can split the difference.

Windsor continued with her ruse to see if Alito would indicate whether he believes it is the Court’s duty to steer the country toward certain religious beliefs, stating to Alito that “people in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that — to return our country to a place of godliness.”

“Oh, I agree with you. I agree with you,” Alito said.

Alito’s comments come shortly after recent reports have revealed that he has had flags with political meanings fly in front of his homes.

In January 2021, just weeks after the Capitol attack and days after former President Donald Trump was impeached, an upside-down U.S. flag flew in front of Alito’s primary residence in Virginia. The flag flying in such a manner is traditionally a sign of distress, but at the time was meant to convey support for Trump and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In the summer of 2023, an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flew outside of Alito’s vacation home. That flag was used during the Revolutionary War but fell out of use until a decade ago, when it was co-opted by Christian nationalist organizations. The flag was also carried by Trump loyalists during their breach of the Capitol building.

Alito addressed calls for him to recuse from cases relating to Trump and those who attacked the Capitol by suggesting that it was his wife, not him, who flew the flags. He provided no evidence to support this claim.

Alito’s comments at the June 3 event, along with his dismissal of concerns relating to the flags that flew outside of his home, suggest political and religious biases that could interfere with cases before the Court.

In response to Windsor’s undercover reporting, former U.S. Attorney and current University of Alabama law professor Joyce Vance expressed dismay that Alito was so cavalier with his views.

“This is deeply troubling. If Justice Alito is making comments like this to a random person at a public dinner, what is he saying to his close confidants?” Vance asked in a recent Substack post. “What is he doing on the bench? How can he possibly deliver impartial justice when he so casually expresses these views?”

“Judges are supposed to conduct themselves in a manner that ensures questions like these are never asked about them,” she added.

Notably, Windsor also spoke to Chief Justice John Roberts while she was undercover at the June 3 dinner. Unlike Alito, however, Roberts brushed aside Windsor’s controversial suggestions.

When asked if the Court should be responsible for putting the country on a more “moral path,” Roberts rejected the idea. “Would you want me to be in charge of putting the nation on a more moral path? … That’s for people we elect. That’s not for lawyers,” Roberts said.

Roberts also pushed back when asked if the U.S. is a “Christian nation,” stating that such a belief would be inconsistent with the laws of the country and noting the perspectives of his “Jewish and Muslim friends” who disagreed with the claim.

“It’s not our job to do that. It’s our job to decide the cases the best we can,” Roberts said, in stark contrast to Alito’s “godliness” agreement.

Windsor also spoke with Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann Alito, who expressed a desire to fly more flags in front of their home to spite critics of her husband — and to show opposition to LGBTQ people.

“You know what I want? I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag because I have to look across the lagoon at the Pride flag for the next month,” Martha-Ann Alito told Windsor.

“Oh, please, don’t put up a flag,” Justice Alito said in response to his spouse’s bigoted commentary.

“When you are free of this nonsense…I’m putting it up and I’m going to send them a message every day, maybe every week. I’ll be changing the flags,” Martha-Ann Alito insisted.

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