“… 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.”

Said Justice Alito, quoted in “Justice Alito Caught on Tape Discussing How Battle for America ‘Can’t Be Compromised'” (Rolling Stone). 

Alito made these remarks in conversation at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3…. His comments were recorded by Lauren Windsor, a liberal documentary filmmaker…. She asked questions of the justice as though she were a religious conservative…. 

The recording… captures Windsor approaching Alito at the event and reminding him that they spoke at the same function the year before, when she asked him a question about political polarization. In the intervening year, she tells the justice, her views on the matter had changed. “I don’t know that we can negotiate with the left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end,” Windsor says. “I think that it’s a matter of, like, winning.”

Alito responded “I think you’re probably right” and then said the lines quoted above. I consider his remarks anodyne. When people are ideologically polarized, they don’t go in for compromises. They keep fighting. Just like Rolling Stone is keeping fighting with this article and its inflammatory headline. Alito doesn’t use the word “battle” or say anything about a “Battle for America.” He just responds to the instigator Windsor by observing that ideologues are not compromisers.

Alito talks about sides without putting himself on one of the sides. He doesn’t join Windsor in the use of the pronoun “we.” His words are neutral: “one side or the other,” “there can be a way,” “it’s difficult,” “there are differences,” “They” (meaning the “differences”). It must have been frustrating to Windsor. And yet, here’s Rolling Stone serving them up as if Alito had declared himself a bitter ender battling for Christian Nationalism. Ludicrous!