Sam Alito, holy court
Sam Alito's holy court. Photo credit: Illustration by WhoWhatWhy from U.S. Department of State / Wikimedia and Lunapic.

In an undercover recording, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito indicates that he views himself as someone who has to take sides in an effort to return the US "to godliness."

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In recent memory, there has been no Supreme Court justice who has so thoroughly disqualified himself from serving on the bench as Samuel Alito — not even Clarence “Sure, You Can Shower Me with Gifts” Thomas. And he did it all in the span of a year.*

First, ProPublica revealed that he went on a luxury fishing trip without disclosing it as a gift.

That raised a few eyebrows, but his behavior was overshadowed by that of Thomas, who has accepted at least $2.4 million in gifts (and likely much more) — most of which cannot be found on his financial disclosure forms.

Then, earlier this year, The New York Times reported that an upside-down American flag, a symbol of the “Stop the Steal” movement, was displayed at his house in January of 2021. 

In the wake of that controversy, the paper also exposed that the Alitos flew another symbol of adherents to the Big Lie at their beach house. 

This led to calls for Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump’s attempted coup. 

He refused. 

On Monday, another bombshell hit… and the fact that Alito will likely also survive this latest scandal shows that the current Supreme Court is irreparably damaged until he and Thomas are replaced. 

In undercover audio recordings, liberal activist and documentary filmmaker Lauren Windsor got Alito to admit that he apparently views his role not as that of a jurist but rather of a warrior in a fight for which ideology will prevail in the US. 

Windsor obtained the audio (which WhoWhatWhy could not independently verify) while posing as a like-minded person at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner last week.

It should be noted that the questions she asked and comments she made were obviously leading, but it is astonishing that someone who should be impartial would engage in this kind of talk in the first place. If you want to know how Alito should have conducted himself, look no further than Chief Justice John Roberts with whom Windsor also spoke.

Saying she was a devout Catholic, the activist said that she didn’t know “whether we can negotiate with the left in a way that needs to happen for the polarization to end” and that, for conservatives, it is “a matter of winning.”

Alito agreed with her statement. 

“I think you are probably right,” he said on the tape, which Rolling Stone disclosed in an exclusive. “One side or the other, one side or the other is probably going to win.”

The justice did say that “there can be a way of working, a way of living together peacefully.” However, he also noted that this is “difficult” because of “fundamental things that can’t really be compromised.”

Alito also said he agreed with Windsor’s statement that people who believe in God have to “keep fighting” in order to “return our country to a place of godliness.” 

Just in case you are wondering whether “returning the country to a place of godliness” is part of the job description of the supposedly impartial Supreme Court justices, it is not. 

Now, there may be some who will note that Alito was merely being polite by agreeing with what Windsor was saying. However, he leaves the impression that he believes he has to take sides in a culture war that “one side or the other is going to win.”

And, as noted above, there is another way to handle such a situation.  

The main takeaway from the recording is that the Supreme Court has lost all credibility unless Alito no longer sits on the bench. But don’t hold your breath for that to happen. 

*Editor’s Note: In order to put pressure on his conservative colleagues to not change their minds, Alito may also have been responsible for leaking a draft decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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