Martha-Ann Aliton and a model wearing a rainbow flag
Martha-Ann Aliton and (inset) a model wearing a rainbow flag (Photo: Shutterstock)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Samuel Alito and his wife Martha-Ann Alito have made headlines in recent weeks over flags hung outside their homes.

It recently emerged that in 2021, the couple flew an upside-down stars and stripes outside their West Virginia residence. Although sometimes used as a signal of distress, it’s been recently more associated with far-right groups and protests.

It appeared at the Alito’s home a couple of weeks after the January 6 protests.

This was followed by reports they flew the “Appeal to Heaven” flag outside a holiday home in New Jersey last summer.

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag was formerly associated with the Revolutionary War. However, it too is now more commonly associated with right-wing protests and Christian nationalism.

Justice Alito has basically blamed it all on his wife. He says the upside-down flag was down to a dispute she was having with a neighbor. They put an anti-Trump sign on their lawn.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Alito said in a statement. “It was briefly placed by Mrs Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

Alito later told Fox News anchor Shannon Bream that a neighbor called his wife an expletive, which is why she flew a US flag upside down.

“Signal of distress”

According to the Washington Post, Martha-Ann Alito told one of their reporters in 2021 that she had flown the flag as “an international signal of distress”. The reporter had visited the home when the flag was flying and asked Mrs Alito about it. The outlet chose not to report on it then but has since printed the comments after the controversy over the flag blew up.

Now, the Alitos are finding themselves in hot water again.

A progressive filmmaker, Lauren Windsor, attended an event and secretly recorded her conversations with both Alitos. Windsor attended the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3 as a member under her real name. She pretended to be a conservative angered by the criticism the Alitos received over the flags.

Both Alitos fell for the deception.

“You come after me, I’m gonna give it back to you”

Martha-Ann revealed that she would bide her time and get back at those who had attacked her.

“Look at me. I’m German, from Germany. My heritage is German. You come after me, I’m gonna give it back to you,” Martha-Ann Alito told Windsor.

“There will be a way. It doesn’t have to be now, but there will be a way they know,” she added. “Don’t worry about it.”

“This is how I satisfy myself”

Martha-Ann then goes on to say she wants to fly the Sacred Heart of Jesus flag.

“I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag because I have to look across the lagoon at the Pride Flag for the next month.

“And he [her husband] 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 flags.”

Chillingly, Martha-Ann then details some of the flags she has in mind.

“They’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. Shame, shame, shame on you

“A place of godliness”

Martha-Ann’s husband didn’t fare much better. Engaged by Windsor in a private conversation about how to bring a polarized nation back together, Alito replied, “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.”

He later agreed with a suggestion from Windsor that people must fight to “return our country to a place of godliness.”

Following the controversy over the flags outside the House, some Democrats want Alito to recuse himself from rulings regarding January 6. He has refused to do so.

Windsor said she felt “justified” to secretly record her conversations at the event because the court is “shrouded in secrecy, and they’re refusing to submit to any accountability in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious ethics breaches.”

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