Secret recordings of Justice Alito and his wife Martha-Ann follow flag controversy. A look at recent Supreme Court cases.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing new scrutiny after speaking candidly about the impossibility of compromise between the political left and right. Alito was also heard agreeing with the woman who surreptitiously recorded him that America should return “to a place of godliness.”

In another secret recording, Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann, says she had to watch a pride flag flying in her neighborhood. This is the latest controversy surrounding the Alitos, after they were recently criticized for waving flags associated with efforts to overturn the 2020 election at home.

The Alitos’ secret recordings are the latest in a series of recent incidents involving Supreme Court justices and their families.

Here’s what happened with the recordings and why it matters:

🎙️ Secret recordings

The secretly recorded audio of the Alitos released Monday was recorded by an advocacy filmmaker, Lauren Windsor, who said she posed as a conservative religious ally when she spoke with them at the Society’s annual dinner history of the Supreme Court last week. (The Alitos did not know they were being recorded, even though Windsor was legally allowed to do so in Washington, D.C., provided one party consented to the recording.)

Windsor asked Alito what he thought about the end of polarization between left and right or whether it came down to one side winning. Alito can be heard telling Windsor: “One side or the other is going to win. (…) There may be a way of working, a way of living together in peace, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things on which we really cannot compromise .”

Windsor then spoke to Alito about questions of morality, saying, “I think the solution really comes down to winning the moral argument. For example, the people of this country who believe in God must continue to fight for this, to return our country to a place of godliness.

“I agree with you,” Alito responded.

🏳️‍🌈 Another controversy over the Alito flag

Windsor also posed as a conservative supporter when she secretly recorded Alito’s wife at the same event.

“You know what I want?” Martha-Ann can be heard asking Windsor. “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 then described her husband’s reaction: “He said, ‘Oh, please don’t raise a flag.’ »

Martha-Ann agreed that she would not put up the flag for now, but vowed that when her husband was “free of this nonsense” she would put it up “to send them a message every day, maybe every week “. I’m going to change the flags.

Martha-Ann’s secretly recorded comments in Windsor follow two different reports that controversial flags were flown at two of the Alitos’ homes in recent years.

One example occurred in the weeks following the 2020 presidential election, when a plane was flown past their home in Virginia. The upside-down flag is a long-used symbol in times of extreme distress and was adopted by supporters of former President Trump when he challenged Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

Another when a “Call to Heaven” flag appeared outside the Alitos’ summer home in New Jersey, another flag that has become associated with Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Alito insisted he was unfamiliar with the flag’s connotations: “My wife loves flying flags. I’m not.” Alito added that he had nothing to do with the two flag incidents and said that Martha-Ann “makes her own decisions and I have always respected her right to do so.”

🏛️ Other recent SCOTUS controversies

The incident marked the latest public controversy involving a Supreme Court justice or a member of his family. Other recent events include:

  • Last week, Judge Clarence Thomas disclosed nearly $4.1 million in gifts, including private jets and vacations.

  • Alito also faced scrutiny in 2023 for accepting gifts, including a fishing trip with someone who later had cases before the Supreme Court.

  • Thomas’ wife, , sent text messages to Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as Trump was contesting the 2020 election. This happened as her husband also heard SCOTUS cases related to the 2020 elections.

⚖️ Why it matters

Supreme Court justices decide some of the most important cases that affect the laws and policies of the entire nation. According to the Supreme Court’s non-binding ruling: “A judge should not allow familial, social, political, financial or other relationships to influence official conduct or judgment.” » It also says: “A judge must exercise his functions in a fair, impartial and diligent manner” and “refrain from any political activity”.

Supreme Court justices are not held accountable by any method other than impeachment, and they can decide in which cases they recuse themselves.

Alito’s secret recordings are important because Democrats have already questioned the justice’s political impartiality in two high-profile SCOTUS cases related to Jan. 6: one that will affect Alito’s criminal case. former President Trump on January 6, and the other regarding the January 6 charges. accused. Despite the controversies that arose in these two cases.