Alito complains of ProPublica scrutiny in new secret recording

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught lashing out against ProPublica’s investigative reporting in a newly released secret recording, alleging it was biased against the high court for its decisions.

Alito made the remarks June 3 at the Supreme Court’s Historical Society when he was approached by Lauren Windsor, a progressive filmmaker who attended the dinner event as a member of the society under her real name but posed as a conservative.

When Windsor asked why he believes the Supreme Court is “being so attacked and being so targeted by the media,” Alito answered, “Well, I think it’s a simple reason. They don’t like our decisions, and they don’t like how they anticipate we may decide some cases that are coming up.”

“That’s the beginning of the end of it, and there are … groups that are very well funded by ideological groups that have spearheaded these attacks. That’s what it is,” Alito continued, per the recording released Tuesday night.

Windsor asked Alito to elaborate, to which the justice said “ProPublica.”

“ProPublica gets a lot of … money and they have spent a fortune investigating Clarence Thomas, for example,” he said. “You know, everything he’s ever done in his entire life. And they’ve done some of that to me, too. But they … look for any little thing they can find, and they try to make something out of it. That’s, that’s what it is.”

ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, published a series of investigative reports last year detailing various undisclosed luxury trips, gifts, and questionable extrajudicial activities involving multiple justices. The reports delved into the billionaires behind these gifts and free travel over the years in a series titled “Friends of the Court.”

The reporters behind the series received the prestigious public service Pulitzer Prize for their work last month.

ProPublica’s reports cast a heightened spotlight on the Supreme Court and the standards — or perceived lack thereof — in place to oversee the high court and the justices’ acceptance of gifts without reporting them.

Weighing in on the criticism, a ProPublica spokesperson told The Hill, “ProPublica exposes abuses of power no matter which party is in charge and our newsroom operates with fierce independence.”

“No donors are made aware of stories before they are published, nor do they have a say as to which stories reporters pursue,” the spokesperosn added. “More than 55,000 donors of every stripe actively fund our investigative, nonpartisan journalism.”

The stories regarding trips taken by Thomas and Alito “would not have been publicly known without our reporting,” the spokesperson added.

Alito has found himself mired in controversy in recent weeks after reports surfaced about a pair of flags flown over Alito’s homes, including an upside-down American flag over his Alexandria, Va., residence in the days surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, and President Biden’s inauguration.

Windsor published other secret recordings earlier this week of Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, who pledged revenge on the people who have stirred controversy surrounding her and her husband.

Alito told Windsor that “one side or the other is going to win” in America’s ideological divide and appeared to embrace his role as a partisan.

“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,” he said, per the recordings.

The comments immediately drew rebuke from Democrats, who argued it shows how Alito exercises a partisan political agenda while presiding over the nation’s high court.

Windsor defended her move to secretly record the justices on June 3 and maintained she did not bait them into making controversial comments.

“I don’t think that I was baiting him,” Windsor, said of Alito during an appearance on NewsNation’s “Cuomo.” “I think that it coaxed him into a position that either was already held or that he came to that over the past year.”

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