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Alito and Roberts secretly recorded at Supreme Court Historical Society annual dinner

A liberal activist who posed as a Christian conservative to record Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts is the latest shot in a left-wing fight to undermine the high court.

Liberal activist Lauren Windsor attended the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3 and secretly recorded her conversations with both Alito and Roberts. Windsor’s recording comes as various activists and media outlets have hounded Alito in recent weeks over two separate instances involving flags flown at his homes: one instance in which an inverted flag flew at his primary residence and a separate instance in which an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flown outside another one of his homes. Democrats have used the instances to demand Alito recuse himself from key decisions.

In the recordings, Alito can be heard responding to a prompt by Windsor, who has a background in liberal activism.

“I don’t know that we can negotiate with the Left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end,” Windsor said during the conversation. “I think that it’s a matter of, like, winning.”

“I think you’re probably right,” Alito said. “On one side or the other — one side or the other is going to win. I don’t know. 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. They really can’t be compromised. So it’s not like you are going to split the difference.”

Alito responded to her by saying, “I agree with you.”

Roberts, however, offered a different response to Windsor, pushing back on the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

The chief justice told her, “It’s not our job to do that. It’s our job to decide the cases the best we can,” according to her recording.

Roberts also pushed back as Windsor suggested that the Supreme Court was in particularly tumultuous times. Roberts suggested that the civil rights era of the 1960s or the Vietnam War era were probably more unprecedented, but he acknowledged that the court was quieter in the mid-2000s era of his career.

James Duff, executive director of the society, said, “Our policy is to ensure that all attendees, including the Justices, are treated with respect.”

“We condemn the surreptitious recording of Justices at the event, which is inconsistent with the entire spirit of the evening,” Duff said, adding attendees are told that “discussion of current cases, cases decided by current sitting Justices, or a Justice’s jurisprudence is strictly prohibited and may result in forfeiture of membership in the Society.”

The group’s events have faced criticism in the past over the chance afforded to donors who pay to attend them to meet some justices in person.

Windsor is the founder of the Undercurrent, a spinoff field reporting project with ties to the left-leaning Young Turks online news network, which was founded by left-wing political commentator Cenk Uygur. Windsor’s article was first published in Rolling Stone.

“I have major news to drop tomorrow, and I don’t say that lightly,” Windsor posted to X on Sunday. “It’s likely the biggest undercover story yet of my career.”

But the story didn’t spur an immediate backlash. In fact, several legal experts responded rather quickly that the off-the-record comments by the justices didn’t express any “lack of impartiality.”

“I don’t see anything here that suggests a lack of impartiality,” Cassandra Robertson, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, posted on X.

“I don’t often agree with Justice Alito’s opinions, but everything he says here seems pretty unexceptional. Pretty sure he would say (and has said) the same things publicly,” Robertson continued.

Anthony Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, also pushed back on notions that Alito violated impartiality rules, saying, “I don’t think this is much of anything.”

“Alito, cranky as usual, blames the media and says he wishes everyone could get along except for fundamental values, which he’s naturally going to see from a right-wing perspective. It’s like an oral summary of his Obergefell dissent,” Kreis wrote on X.

Tickets for this year’s dinner cost $500 per person, according to the group’s webpage. The historical society is described as a nonprofit organization “dedicated to preserving and collecting the history of the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to its “Mission” page.

The latest undercover jab at Alito comes as Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), recently called on Roberts to sit down for a private meeting over their efforts to convince Alito to recuse from pivotal Supreme Court cases.

“I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting,” Roberts wrote in a letter on May 30 to Durbin and Whitehouse, citing the checks and balances among the three coequal branches of government.

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