Politics

Justice Alito questions possibility of political compromise in secret recording

WASHINGTON — (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is heard questioning whether compromise between the left and right is possible in a conversation posted on social media. The conservative justice is also heard agreeing with a woman who says the United States should return "to a place of godliness."

The audio was posted Monday on X by liberal filmmaker Lauren Windsor. She said it was recorded at the Supreme Court Historical Society's annual dinner last week.

“One side or the other is going to win,” Alito said. “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 with you,” Alito responded.

Windsor also spoke with Chief Justice John Roberts, who rejected a similar argument. When Windsor suggested the court should lead the nation on a “Christian” path, Roberts responded, “I don’t know if that’s true.”

The court declined to comment on the recordings.

Alito has rejected calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants after stories emerged about controversial flags that flew above his homes.

In letters to members of Congress, Alito said his wife, Martha-Ann, was responsible for flying both an upside-down flag over their home in 2021 and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag at their New Jersey beach house last year. Both flags were like those carried by rioters who violently stormed the Capitol in January 2021 while echoing Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Martha-Ann Alito spoke to Windsor about her flags on another recording made at the dinner, according to an additional edited recording the filmmaker posted online. She said she wanted to fly a religious flag because “I have to look across the lagoon at the Pride flag for the next month,” an apparent reference to celebratory LGBTQ+ displays during Pride month in June.

Her husband asked her not to, she told Windsor. “He’s like, ’Oh please don’t put up a flag.'"

Martha-Ann Alito also imagined making a flag with “yellow and orange flames” and the Italian word for shame in the center.

Roberts declined an invitation to meet with Democratic senators to talk about Supreme Court ethics and the flags that flew outside Alito's homes.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Windsor said she recorded the conversations with Alito and Roberts because “the Supreme Court is shrouded in secrecy, and they’re refusing to submit to any accountability in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious ethics breaches, I think that it’s justified to take these types of measures.”

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