Martha-Ann Alito Can’t Wait to Let Her Freak Flag Fly

Martha-Ann Alito Can’t Wait to Let Her Freak Flag Fly

Martha-Ann Alito Can’t Wait to Let Her Freak Flag Fly

The Supreme Court justice’s wife turns out to be a far-right Catholic crackpot with a deep vindictive streak. She brings vergogna—shame—upon her family and the court.


Journalist Lauren Windsor’s secret recordings of a conversation with Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rightly dominated the news on Monday. Alito revealed his Christian nationalism, long evident in his rulings, when Windsor posed as a devout Catholic admirer questioning whether the right can rest before the country is restored to “a place of godliness.”

“Well, I agree with you, I agree with you,” Alito replied, going on to say, “One side or the other is going to win.”

Alito sounded positively mainstream, though, in comparison with his wife, Martha-Ann, who’s been in the news lately for flying an upside-down flag in the wake of Joe Biden’s election—and feuding with her neighbors about it—as well as a Christian nationalist flag, “Appeal to Heaven,” outside their Jersey shore home. When Windsor commiserates with her over the controversy, Martha-Ann Alito replies, “It’s OK! It’s OK! If they come back to me, I’ll get them. I’m gonna be liberated, and I’m gonna get them.”

You can listen to the audio here.

Windsor shared the audio with Rolling Stone.

Alito’s wife went on about getting revenge, sounding even Trumpier than her husband. “Look at me. I’m German, from Germany. My heritage is German. You come after me, I’m going to give it back to you. And there will be a way—it doesn’t have to be now—but there will be a way they will know. Don’t worry about it.”

I guess I’m a little worried about that. And what does being of German heritage have to do with anything? (I can use my imagination.) Alito made clear at another point that “them” was the media.

She also shared with Windsor that she has fantasized about flying “a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag, because I have to look across the lagoon at the Pride flag for the next month.” I’m Catholic too. I grew up with Sacred Heart of Jesus imagery in my childhood home. But to use that image to combat LGBTQ Pride this month doesn’t seem like something Jesus would do.

To me, the nuttiest part of her entire rant (which, to my knowledge, no one has yet covered) was when she gave Windsor an example of getting back at a journalist: Robin Givhan, the fashion critic of The Washington Post. She falsely claimed that Givhan’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize came for her mockery of Alito’s clothing at her husband’s confirmation hearings (it did not). She misidentified her as working for The New York Times. She apparently called Givhan to “congratulate” her on her award, needling her about fashion. Alito is talking so fast, and so nonsensically, it’s not worth transcribing it. (You can listen to the audio!)

I just have to say, I don’t know which is scarier: that she called and harassed Givhan, or that she remembered it in such detail almost 20 years later. The woman indeed holds a grudge.

She says she didn’t fly the Sacred Heart of Jesus flag, in deference to her husband—but insisted he doesn’t “control” her. “The feminazis believe that he should control me,” Alito added. “So they’ll go to hell. He never controls me.” I’m pretty sure she meant they’ll “go to hell” literally.

Alito picked up her flag rant. She told her husband: “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. This is how I satisfy myself,” she continued. “It’s white and it has yellow and orange flames around it, and in the middle is the word vergogna.” That’s the Italian word for “shame.”

Vergogna is an interesting choice of words. One could also apply it to Justice Alito’s brazenness in imposing his conservative Catholic worldview on the country, or his wife’s Trumpy arrogance. They both bring shame to the Supreme Court.

The thing is, despite Justice Alito’s dark view of polarization in the United States, we—secular liberals and progressives—can live with them. Let Martha-Ann Alito fly whatever flag she wants on her property, while LGBTQ people can fly the Pride flag. Sure, we’d like to change their minds on a few issues, but if we can’t, we’ll mostly leave them alone. Are you an anti-abortion Catholic, as the Alitos are? That’s fine; I have relatives who feel that way. The issue is simple: Don’t have an abortion. Opposed to same-sex marriage? Then don’t marry a person of your own sex.

It’s the Christian nationalists who want to impose their values on us—and do it with cruelty, if you listen to the wrathful Martha-Ann Alito. As her husband put it: “One side or the other is going to win.” And they are doing everything in their power, from the Supreme Court to state legislatures to school boards, to make sure it’s their side.

I can’t wait until Martha-Ann Alito is “free of this nonsense”—presumably, when her husband leaves the court—and we’re free of the couple’s Catholic extremism.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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