Supreme Court justice’s wife rages at Pride flag: I designed my own flag that says “Shame”!

Sep 23, 2020; Washington, DC: Justice Samuel Alito and his wife Martha-Ann stand during a private ceremony for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sep 23, 2020; Washington, DC: Justice Samuel Alito and his wife Martha-Ann stand during a private ceremony for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of far-right Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, was caught in a recorded conversation complaining about her neighbors’ Pride flag, going so far as to say that she designed her own flag with flames and the word “shame” on it.

“You know what I want?” Alito said in a conversation with documentarian Lauren Windsor at a dinner reception last week, not knowing she was being recorded. She was complaining about how she was being treated in the media – and vowing revenge – for a controversy involving flying a Christian nationalist flag outside her home and an upside-down American flag just after January 6, 2021, a sign that she may have supported the Capitol Insurrection.

“I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag, because I have to look across the lagoon [from] the Pride flag for the next month,” she said. “And [Samuel Alito] is 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 gonna send them a message every day, maybe every week, I’ll be changing the flag, there’ll be all kinds.'”

“I made a flag in my head,” she continued. “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. Vergogna. V-E-R-G-O-G-N-A. Vergogna.”

“Shame, shame, shame on you,” she concluded. “You know? Anyway.”

In other parts of the conversation, Martha-Ann Alito used the term “feminazi” – a word popularized by rightwing radio host Rush Limbaugh to insult feminists – and ranted about how she is going to “get even” with the media and said that her German heritage would be integral to that revenge, without explaining what she meant.

The part about Pride flags starts at the 5:00 mark.

Last month, the Alitos faced controversy for flying the Christian nationalist “Appeal to Heaven” flag outside their home. The flag was recently popularized by Dutch Sheets, a self-proclaimed prophet who is influential in a movement to remake the U.S. into a “Christian nation,” even at the price of “spiritual warfare.”

The Alitos also flew an upside-down American flag shortly after the January 6 insurrection, which many on the right did to express their dissatisfaction with the 2020 election results being certified.

Samuel Alito blamed Martha-Ann Alito for flying the flags outside their home to explain why he didn’t recuse himself from cases related to the Capitol Insurrection. He claimed that she flew the upside-down flag as part of a feud with a neighbor, not in response to the election certification.

“I don’t consider Martha-Ann a private figure, given that she’s married to a Supreme Court justice, and she’s a window into his thinking,” Windsor said. “She’s very, very enthusiastic about her flag waving.”

Windsor is working on a documentary on the growth of Trumpism and religious extremism. She paid for a ticket and attended the dinner reception, talking to the Alitos while pretending to be a fellow conservative.

Samuel Alito has ruled against LGBTQ+ repeatedly, and Martha-Ann Alito’s contempt for LGBTQ+ people could, as Windsor suggests, help provide insight into the kind of rhetoric he regularly hears about LGBTQ+ people.

Samuel Alito dissented from the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015, which legalized marriage equality in all 50 states. He dissented in the United States v. Windsor decision in 2013, which overturned the federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages. He dissented in the 2020 Bostock v. Clayton Co. decision, which found that anti-LGBTQ+ job discrimination is banned by Title VII.

He was in the majority of the more recent 2023 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis decision, which found that religious businesses could discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Earlier this year, he issued an opinion saying that excluding homophobic jurors from cases involving anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is itself a form of anti-Christian discrimination.

And Samuel Alito joined Justice Clarence Thomas in issuing an opinion in 2020 saying that the Supreme Court should end marriage equality, calling two people of the same-sex marrying a threat to religious freedom for conservative Christians.

Samuel Alito was also recorded at the same event by Windsor, talking about how conservatives can’t “peacefully” live with liberals because their “fundamental” beliefs “can’t be compromised.”

“One side or the other is going to win,” he said. “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.”

Windsor told Alito: “People in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that—to return our country to a place of godliness.”

“I agree with you. I agree with you,” Samuel Alito responded.

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