Justice Samuel Alito recorded making controversial remarks that call compromise into question

Associate Justice Samuel Alito sits during a group photo of the Justices in 2021 at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito voiced support of returning the U.S. “to a place of godliness” and said, “there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised,” according to a secretly recorded interview that made headlines this week.

At a pricey June 3 gala at the Supreme Court, liberal documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor took on a conservative persona to wheedle controversial comments out of the judge, who has recently come under fire for flying flags associated with Trump supporters at his homes.


“As a Catholic and as someone who, like, really cherishes my faith, I just don’t, I don’t know that we can negotiate with the left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end,” Windsor told Alito at the annual Supreme Court Historical Society dinner.

“I think that it’s a matter of like, winning,” she said.

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

The exchange was first reported in Rolling Stone.

It wasn’t clear what specific issues the two were talking about, since Windsor only vaguely alluded to “the left” in American politics and was asking Alito how to mend the polarization that seems rampant.

“There can be a way of working, a way of living together peacefully,” the jurist opined. “But it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised. So it’s not like you’re going to split the difference.”

Alito wrote the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a constitutional right to abortion in 2022.

Later in his conversation with Windsor, he called polarization in the U.S. “very dangerous” and said Americans must work together to heal the divide.

When Windsor said those who believe in God have got to fight “to return our country to a place of godliness,” Alito replied, “I agree with you. I agree with you.”

Rolling Stone published an article on the recording after revelations of gifts and free travel being lavished on various justices by wealthy cronies. Alito is already under fire for flying flags at two residences that appear to support the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and refusing to recuse himself from cases dealing with the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. While critics contend the flags evidence his lack of impartiality, Alito has blamed his wife for the displays.

“They are shrouded in secrecy, and we have seen them be willing to overturn long-standing precedent in ways that are really extraordinary,” Windsor told The Washington Post of the Supreme Court. “Americans are really at this crossroads of, do we continue with a secular democracy, or do we let a conservative majority take us down a path of Christian theocracy?”

At the June gala, Windsor also spoke with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., whose responses were markedly different from those of Alito.

“I believe that the founders were godly, like were Christians, and I think that we live in a Christian nation and that our Supreme Court should be guiding us in that path,” Windsor told Roberts.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” he replied.

Neither justice commented on the recordings Monday.

Supreme Court Historical Society President James Duff decried Windsor’s methods.

“We condemn the surreptitious recording of justices at the event, which is inconsistent with the entire spirit of the evening,” Duff told the New York Daily News in a statement. “Attendees are advised that discussion of current cases, cases decided by this Court, or a justice’s jurisprudence is strictly prohibited and may result in forfeiture of membership in the Society.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.