Joy Reid says Alito is a 'Fox host on the court' amid ethics controversy

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MSNBC host Joy Reid slammed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito as a clear conservative in a takedown on Monday, as the justice faces multiple ethics controversies over potential bias and political affiliation.

“We know Alito is essentially a Fox host on the court,” Reid said of the justice, adding that he is barely attempting to hide his political ideology.

“He doesn’t care who knows that he wants to make the country into a Christian nationalist, you know, ethnostate or whatever it is he thinks he would create under this ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ vision,” she continued.

In a secret recording released Monday, Alito told a woman he believed to be a Catholic conservative that he agreed with her perception that there is no way to negotiate with liberals and that the court must be used for “winning” conservative ideals.

“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.” 

The remarks were recorded by progressive filmmaker Lauren Windsor at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3, who attended the event as a member of the society under her real name, though posed as a conservative to elicit answers from the judges. The recordings were published by Rolling Stone and Windsor’s activist site The Undercurrent.

The recordings come days after additional scrutiny was laid on gifts Alito and other justices have received while members of the court. Data published Thursday found that Alito has taken about $140,000 in gifts since 2004, the third-most of any current or former justice in that period.

Justice Clarence Thomas accepted over $4 million in gifts over the same period, more than all other justices combined multiple times over.

Alito also found himself in controversy last month when it was discovered an “Appeal to Heaven” flag and an upside-down American flag were flown at his home. The symbols have been associated with far-right politics, Christian nationalism, and those who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Alito said the flags were not political statements, but merely personal attacks from his wife against neighbors, though the neighbor has publicly doubted the justice’s story. The controversy has sparked widespread criticism from Democrats in Congress, including multiple high-profile members demanding he recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases.

His wife, Martha-Ann Alito, told the same undercover liberal activist at the Historical Society event that she wants to get back at those who have criticized her and the justice over flying the flags. 

“You come after me, I’m gonna give it back to you,” she said in the recording also published Monday by MSNBC. “There will be a way, it doesn’t have to be now, but there will be a way they know,” she added.

In the recording, Martha-Ann Alito also committed that she will fly a “Sacred Heart of Jesus” flag at her home this month out of protest that a LGBTQ Pride flag is on display nearby. The Sacred Heart of Jesus flag is a symbol associated with the Christian right-wing, specifically used to protest Pride.

Justice Alito has repeatedly defended himself from allegations that he is ethically compromised, and Chief Justice John Roberts has declined to hold a meeting on the claims.

Reid also predicted Monday that Alito and the current Supreme Court could next take on the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, following the Alito-penned ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision in 2022.

“Just in reading through the litany of things that Alito has said in the past, he’s criticized the Warren court,” Reid said, “that’s the court that gave us all of the civil rights and women, people of color, immigrants, everything, the disabled, all of that came in the 20th century.” 

“You’ve now had Clarence Thomas question whether Brown v. Board went too far,” she added, referring to commentary Thomas wrote as part of a separate ruling. “This just tells me they’re gonna take a case to overturn Brown v. Board.”

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