Joy Reid Takes on “Blockbuster” Alito Audio, Ridicules Mrs. Alito

MSNBC’s Joy Reid devoted a significant portion of Monday’s night’s episode of The ReidOut to launching yet another attack on Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann. Reid celebrated a secret recording by leftist Lauren Windsor attempting to expose and embarrass the Alitos as conservative crazies. 

Reid began with her standard, generalizing smear of conservative justices, alleging that they have become increasingly defiant and corrupt. “A number of these conservative justices have become emboldened and even self righteous, particularly Alito, whose power has grown alongside his public grievances with the secular direction of American society,” she proclaimed.

She rehashed Alito’s past offenses before turning to “blockbuster new audio” recorded by Windsor, whom she praised for the deceptive tactics she employed in attempting to elicit views that would incriminate Alito as partisan. In the audio, he stated the simple fact “one side or the other is going to win,” admitting that peaceful collaboration between both sides was possible, though necessarily difficult due to extreme polarization of values.

To Reid, Alito was a clearly biased, Christian nationalist for agreeing with Windsor’s outrageous suggestion that “people in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that, to return our country to a place of godliness.” She juxtaposed Alito’s “shocking” response with that of Chief Justice John Roberts who maintained that “It’s our job to decide the cases as best we can.”

Reid was astounded that “[Alito] seemed undeterred by the fact that you’re someone he doesn’t know personally, and he was willing to say a lot to you,” as if he should have felt the need to conceal his beliefs for fear of exaggerated condemnation from rabid hosts such as herself.

She switched gears to mock Alito’s wife Martha-Ann who, in the audio, wisecracked about filing a defamation lawsuit against the media upon Justice Alito’s retirement from the Supreme Court. Even more offensive to Reid was her desire to design a flag of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a counter to the rainbow flags inordinately displayed during “Pride Month” (June is traditionally venerated as the month of the Sacred Heart in the Catholic Church).

Windsor, by this point evidently lacking in verbal ammunition, stumbled through her opinion on Martha-Ann’s “rant”:

Reid weakly attempted a further gibe, replying, “And she said ‘I’m German and that i–and you’ll n–you just can’t believe how much I can, I can come at you and give, uh, more, uh, revenge.’”

Alito’s assessment of the media in the recording, then, undeniably rings true: “It’s easy to blame the media, but I do blame them because they do nothing but criticize us. And so they have really eroded trust in the Court.”

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s The ReidOut

6/10/2024

07:03:49 PM EST

JOY REID: A number of these conservative justices have become emboldened and even self righteous, particularly Alito, whose power has grown alongside his public grievances with the secular direction of American society. In 1985, while applying for a job in the Reagan administration, he explained what drew him into conservative–into government and politics, writing, quote, “The greatest influences on my views were the writings of William F. Buckley Jr., and the National Review, and Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign.” You know, the Barry Goldwater who opposed the Civil Rights Act. He added that he had particularly opposed a number of Warren Court rulings that led to the most expansive civil rights era in American history. 

In 2008, after being on the court for nearly three years, Alito spoke at a fund-raising gala for a right-wing magazine. After disparaging President Obama, he went on to criticize the, quote, “legal vanguard” that imagined that “law would move dramatically” leftward after the Warren Court. He ended by saying, they turned out to be wrong. Alito disrespected President Obama again during a 2010 State of the Union address, after the president correctly criticized the Citizens United decision that kicked open the flood gates–to billionaires like Leonard Leo and Alito’s and Clarence Thomas’ benefactors–to buy up politics and apparently our courts. 

Then there was that time, months after he penned the Dobbs decision overturning Roe, when Alito attended an event in Rome and complained about the rise in secularism. Unprompted, he went on to complain that world leaders dared to question his ruling.

[Cuts to video]

JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO: I had the honor this term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders, who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law. One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But he paid the price. (transition) All I am going to say is that ultimately, if we are going to win the battle to protect religious freedom in an increasingly secular society, we will need more than positive law.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: He added that if religious liberty is protected, then men and women of faith will be able to speak out on social issues, which is exactly what he’s been doing. And while he likes speaking up, he doesn’t like being called out. Alito posted an unprecedented rebuke of ProPublica in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, before ProPublica posted a stunning report that he had accepted a luxury fishing trip from Republican mega-donor Paul Singer, who had active cases in front of the Supreme Court. 

That’s all before the upside down flag, the upside down American flag, I should note, and the “Jesus at the insurrection” flag flew at his homes. And, also, that’s just the stuff Sam Alito’s been saying in public, which kinda makes you wonder what he’s been saying behind closed doors. Well, there’s blockbuster new audio today that gives us some insight into that. It comes from progressive activist and documentarian Lauren Windsor. Ms. Windsor, who is known for approaching high profile conservative figures, pretending to be an ally and then recording them making candid comments, spoke to Justice Alito at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner earlier this month, where she asked him about political polarization.

[Cuts to audio]

LAUREN WINDSOR: 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, like, needs to happen for the polarization to end. I think that it’s a matter of, like, winning.

ALITO: I think you’re probably right. I mean, 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, you know. They really can’t be compromised. So it’s not like you can split the difference.

WINDSOR: And that’s what I’m saying. 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.

ALITO: Oh, I agree with you. I agree with you.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: And just to underscore how unusual that kind of response is from a Supreme Court justice, here is Chief Justice John Roberts after being asked a similar question by Ms. Windsor.

[Cuts to audio]

WINDSOR: You don’t think there’s, like, a role for the Court in, like, guiding us toward a more moral path?

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: No, I think the role for the Court is deciding the cases. If I start–would you want me to be in charge of guiding us toward a more moral path? That’s for the people we elect. That’s not the lawyers.

WINDSOR: Well, I guess I just–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.

ROBERTS: I don’t know if that’s true. Yeah, I don’t know that we live in a Christian nation. I know a lot of Jewish and Muslim friends who would say maybe not. And it’s not our job to do that. It’s our job to decide the cases as best we can.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: Joining me now is the creator and executive producer of The Undercurrent, Lauren Windsor, whose voice you just heard in those secret recordings. We should also note that Lauren attended this dinner as a dues-paying member of the Society under her real name. Lauren, thank you for being here.

WINDSOR: Thank you, Joy. 

REID: Welcome back to the show. Uh, “One side or the other is going to win. It’s not like we can split the difference.” These are shocking comments. But, before I get to how you reacted–how you internally reacted to them, I do want to just underscore that. How did you get into this, uh, this event?

WINDSOR: Uh, I was a dues-paying member. I bought a ticket.

REID: Were you surprised–because there’s another part of your recording where you say, “Hey, I talked to you in 2022,” but Alito kept talking. He didn’t seem unde–he seemed undeterred by the fact that you’re someone he doesn’t know personally, and he was willing to say a lot to you.

WINDSOR: Well, so, it was 2023, um, and I included both of the interactions there just so people could see that, you know, um, I think some of the criticism is “Oh, well he was just, uh, agreeing with you,” or, uhh, whatnot, but look at his answer in 2023. It was different. It was “No, we don’t have a role. I don’t know, I don’t know.” And, it was also contrasted to Roberts’ answer.

REID: Let me play that. Let me play that. This is Justice Alito in 2023 also talking to you, Lauren WIndsor, and talking about the media. Take a listen.

[Cuts to audio]

WINDSOR: Like, this is, like, the last bastion of I think, like, public trust. And, like, how do we get back to that?

ALITO: I wish I knew. I don’t know. It’s easy to blame the media, but I do blame them because they do nothing but criticize us. And so they have really eroded trust in the Court. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, ordinary people–ordinary isn’t the right word–American citizens in general need to work on this, to try to heal this polarization because it’s very dangerous. I do believe it’s dangerous.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: So he had a very different answer back then.

WINDSOR: Yeah.

REID: Um, were you surprised at how candid he was about saying “One side or the other is going to win. It’s not like we can split the difference.” He’s essentially saying–he’s agreeing, “Yes, we need to win this culture war.”

WINDSOR: Yes, of course. I mean, uh, when the first interaction happened, I was, like, okay, well, it’s very hard to get a judge, a justice, even lower level judges to talk about politics, anything that might imply politics, to give any sort of hint or signal as to what their own opinions may be. And, so, after that first interaction, I didn’t publish it because it wasn’t very newsworthy. Interesting, but not newsworthy. But I felt, like, in the course of the last year–because that was before the spotlight was on him with ProPublica. So, I felt like that grievance was more piqued over the past year with his own experience. And, so, I wanted to see if he had a different reaction.

REID: And he certainly did. Uh, let’s talk about Martha-Ann. 

WINDSOR: (Laughs)

REID: Uh, Justice Alito has blamed Martha-Ann, his wife, and said “It is her flag, she’s the one who flew them, it’s her fault that there was an upside down American flag and then a, uh, what is it–”consent to Jesus” or, or…

WINDSOR: Appeal to Heaven.

REID: Appeal to Heaven flag, uh, outside their, uh, g–vacation home. Let me play for you–and this is new audio, it just recently went up on your social media, and on RollingStone. Here is Martha-Ann Alito, and you go up to her and you start by saying, “Hey, I’m a big fan of your husband,” and let’s hear what happens after that.

[Cuts to audio]

WINDSOR: I’m a huge fan of your husband, and, um, everything that you’re going through, I just want to tell you that, like–

MARTHA–ANN ALITO: It’s okay! It’s okay!

WINDSOR: Well, it’s not okay, though. It’s not okay.

ALITO: It’s okay. It’s okay because if they come back to me, I’ll get them. I’m going to be liberated and I’m going to get them.

WINDSOR: What do you mean by “they”?

ALITO: Oh, well, there’s a five-year defamation statute of limitations.

WINDSOR: And, I don’t know what you mean by “they,” like, by “get them.”

ALITO: The media.

WINDSOR: Oh, okay.

ALITO: Come on, come on. I’ll get you. Come on.

[Cuts back to live]

REID: (Laughs). I am normally not speechless. “I’ll get them, I’m gonna get them. I’ll be liberated and I’m gonna get them.” She talks about a five-year defamation statute of liber– of limitations. We know that there are conservative legal groups who would like to allow the media to be sued for defamation. Donald Trump talks about it all the time. Do you think that’s what she was talking about?

WINDSOR: Well, uh, I certainly feel like, yeah, she would like to go after the media, but the implication here with the five-year statute of limitations is that Justice Alito will be retired by then. And he would only retire–

REID: If there’s a conservative, yes.

WINDSOR: If Trump were in the White House again. 

REID: Sure.

WINDSOR: So she’s–there’s an assumption there that Trump wins the White House. And, so, that adds an additional layer of self-interest to all of these decisions that he’s deciding because he’s thinking about impending retirement–

REID: Sure.

WINDSOR: –amongst other things.

REID: Yeah, I’m quite sure that the moment Donald Trump is inaugurated they’ll retire probably a day, uh, after that. There’s another piece and this one is even more bizarre but, I think, also more relevant since she is the one who Samuel Alito blamed for the various flags that flew both at their home and their vacation home. Here is Martha-Ann Alito talking about flags. Take a listen.

[Cuts to audio]

ALITO: You know what I want? I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag, because I have to look across the lagoon at the pride flag for the next month.

WINDSOR: Exactly!

ALITO: And he’s like, “Oh, please, don’t put up a flag.” I said, I won’t do it because I’m deferring to you, but when you are free of this nonsense, I’m putting it up and I’m going to send them a message every day, maybe every week, I’ll be changing the flags. There’ll be all kinds–I made a flag in my head, this is how I satisfy myself. I made a flag. It’s white and it has yellow and orange flames around it, and in the middle is the word “vergogna.” “Vergogna” in Italian means shame.

REID: (Mispronouncing) Fegonia. For those of you who did not hear that clearly, I’m just gonna reread this to you because I think you need to understand what she said. This is Mrs. Samuel Alito. “You know what I want? I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag because I have to look across the lagoon at the pride flag for the next month.” Then she says, “Oh, please don’t put up a flag, he’s like–and he’s like”–she means Samuel Alito– “Oh, please don’t put up a flag.” She said, “I won’t do it because I’m deferring to you, but when you are free of this nonsense, I’m putting it up and I’m going to send them a message every day. Maybe every week I’ll be changing the flags. They’ll be all kinds. I made a flag in my head. That’s how I satisfy myself. I made a flag. It’s white and it has yellow and orange flames around it and in the middle of it is the word vegonia. Vegonia.” She emphasized that as an Italian word that means shame. What were your immediate thoughts after hearing that?

WINDSOR: Well, um, throughout this, uh, sort of rant, there was a lot of, you know, it just–aggression and, you know, against the media, getting even, and it felt like, you know, another instance of getting even, “shame, shame,” and at one point she talked about being German, and I really had more of the impression that she was Italian by the way that she was talking about it.

REID: (Laughs) The (inaudible) the vegonia. 

WINDSOR: Yes, exactly.

REID: And she said “I’m German and that i–and you’ll n–you just can’t believe how much I can, I can come at you and give, uh, more, uh, revenge. Vegonia. Lauren Windsor, congratulations. This is a huge scoop, uh, perhaps your biggest yet. Thank you for bringing it to The Reidout.

WINDSOR: Thank you.

REID: Much appreciated. And we’ll be right back.

(…)

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