Experts dismiss undercover Alito, Roberts recordings as ‘pretty unexceptional’

Legal experts are weighing in on recently released undercover audio recordings of two Supreme Court justices, calling the recordings not “much of anything.”

Liberal filmmaker Lauren Windsor recorded Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito and his wife Martha-Ann Alito without their knowledge at a dinner event on June 3. The audio files were later published by Rolling Stone. 

Windsor presented herself as a conservative supporter and engaged Alito in conversation about ideological differences, and the justice claimed in one recording, “there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised.” 

Windsor prompted the justice further, saying to him, “People in this country who believe in God have got to keep fighting for that – to return our country to a place of godliness.”


Alito responded to Windsor, “I agree with you. I agree with you.” 

In response to an assertion from Windsor, Roberts pushed back at the undercover filmmaker, saying, “The idea that the court is in the middle of a lot of tumultuous stuff going on is nothing new.” 

In a post on X promoting the recordings and the Rolling Stone article, Windsor directed her followers to a link to donate to the Democrat PAC ActBlue, saying, “Unfortunately we can’t do this work for free. Please help support our reporting with a donation.”

The recordings prompted an outcry from Democrats against the court on Capitol Hill, but legal experts say the records demonstrate nothing that “suggests a lack of impartiality.”

“I don’t think this is much of anything,” Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State law professor, posted on X.

“Alito, cranky as usual, blames the media and says he wishes everyone could get along except for fundamental values, which he’s naturally going to see from a right wing perspective. It’s like an oral summary of his Obergefell dissent,” he said.


Cassandra Robertson, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, called Alito’s comments “pretty unexceptional.”

“I don’t see anything here that suggests a lack of impartiality,” she said. “I don’t often agree with Justice Alito’s opinions, but everything he says here seems pretty unexceptional. Pretty sure he would say (and has said) the same things publicly.”

Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network, called the recordings “pure clickbait.” 

“Nothing in this audio of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito is remotely inappropriate. What’s most notable is how both Roberts and Alito said – while being secretly recorded – that it’s not the job of the court to make policy,” Severino noted. 

“And even in a gotcha conversation with a bad faith actor, they reiterated the limitations of the judicial role. Outside of that, the only other thing that stands out here is the timing of this release – right before the end of the term,” she said. 

“This is just a continuation of a desperate and coordinated campaign by the Left to delegitimize the Supreme Court because they don’t control it. Expect the baseless smears to continue as long as a majority of the court is faithful to the Constitution rather than to the Left’s political agenda,” she said. 

Alito recently came under fire for a New York Times report that the Alitos flew an upside-down American flag briefly at their home in 2021. An upside-down flag was a symbol during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Alito said the flag was his wife’s doing and unrelated to Jan. 6 but rather in response to a dispute with a tormenting next-door neighbor. 


The Times later reported that the Alitos’ beach home was seen flying an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, which is a historic Navy flag that is still used for official purposes across the country. It was also flown during the Capitol riot. 

Senate Democrats have railed against conservative members of the Supreme Court in recent months, calling for recusal from key cases and leveling ethics violation allegations – all of which the justices have rejected or denied. 

In the wake of the audio leaks, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he will resurface a bill Wednesday to overhaul Supreme Court ethics, despite the high court having already clarified and updated its own code of conduct. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said he will block Durbin’s effort to unanimously pass the bill. 

Fox News’ Julia Johnson contributed to this report.