As the Supreme Court’s term ends, the flags outside Alito’s homes have sparked a political backlash

Washington – Reports that two different flags were flown outside the homes of Justice Samuel Alito sparked a political firestorm and reinvigorated a focus on ethical practices at the Supreme Court, with Democrats introducing legislation calling for the justice to adopt court-bound rules of conduct. Former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6, 2021, to withdraw from capital assault cases.

Alito, his wife and two vines

A critique of Alito follows couple of reports The New York Times revealed that an American flag flew upside down outside his Virginia home in mid-January 2021, and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was displayed outside his vacation home in New Jersey in July and September 2023.

Both types of flags were carried by rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, prompting Democrats to condemn their presence outside Alito’s homes.

Jan. 6, 2021, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag is displayed at left of the US Capitol.

Government Exhibition


The judge told the New York Times that he had “no involvement whatsoever” in flying the flag outside his Virginia home in early 2021 and told the Times it was “put in place by Ms. Alito.” Using objectionable and personally insulting language to neighbors in yard signs.” The Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment on the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

An upside down American flag was used to represent distress American code“The union should not be shown below, except as a signal of grave distress in cases of great danger to life or property.”

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag, also known as the pine tree flag, dates back to the American Revolution and represents resistance to British colonialism. One comment states that the flag was “frequently seen on the seas as the flag of ships commissioned by General Washington.” Congress report Published in 2006. The phrase “appeal to heaven” was coined by the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote in his book Second contract of Govt “When the people, or any body of men deprived of their right, or exercising unrighteous power, have no appeal on earth, there they are at liberty to appeal to heaven whenever they please. Judge the cause of sufficient moment.”

It has become associated with Christian nationalism in recent years.

Democrats must recall Alito on Jan. 6, Trump immunity cases

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois criticized Alito over the episodes and called for him to recuse himself from the Jan. 6 obstruction charge against the defendants and whether former President Donald Trump should be protected from criminal prosecution. Grounds for Presidential Immunity

“He can’t play fast and loose with these political symbols without compromising his own integrity,” said Durbin, a Democrat.

Durbin said he hopes the Senate will take up the legislation. Presented by the Judiciary Committee Last year, the Supreme Court was required to adopt a binding code of ethics and implement procedures for handling claims of judicial misconduct.

“It’s time for the highest court in the land to move away from the lowest standards of ethics,” he said.

Supreme Court Issued a code of conductAll nine justices signed on in November, but there is no enforcement mechanism.

Forty-five House Democrats have called on Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the January 6 attacks or the 2020 election. They sent a Letter He said Tuesday that while he had nothing to do with the display of the flag, “the fact of such a political statement in your home creates, at the very least, the appearance of improper political bias.”

While Republicans mostly support Alito, others have questioned allowing the American flag to be displayed upside down.

“It’s not good judgment to do that,” said Sen. of South Carolinian, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham told reporters earlier this week. “He said his wife was insulted and mad. I assume that’s true, but he’s still a Supreme Court justice.”

North Carolina’s GOP Sen. Thom Tillis said it was “probably unwise” to have a flag with political connotations, but said other members of the high court took a position he disagreed with.

“If we’re going to be intellectually honest about it, we’re going to look at every event where there’s some sort of political or ideological motivation,” he told reporters.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there had been “relentless attacks” on the high court.

“We need to leave the Supreme Court alone and protect them from people who would go into their neighborhoods and try to harm them,” the Kentucky Republican said.

The flag statements come as the Supreme Court is poised to issue politically charged decisions

According to the New York Times, the revelations about the flags being displayed in January 2021 and the summer of 2023 come as the Supreme Court enters the final weeks of its term. Justices are poised to issue rulings on many politically charged issues, including abortion and guns. Their rulings in two other cases could have significant implications for Trump.

The first includes a statute of limitations used to prosecute more than 350 defendants who allegedly participated in the January 6 attack. Trump was charged with violating that law, which makes it a felony to obstruct official action “corruptly,” and with conspiracy to obstruct official action. He is innocent in both cases.

If the Supreme Court limits the reach of the law and finds it inapplicable to the Jan. 6 attack, Trump could press for dismissal of those two charges.

The second case involves whether he can be criminally prosecuted for his alleged actions surrounding the 2020 election. Trump has argued that he is entitled to sweeping immunity for official actions taken while in office, but special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the case against the former president, urged the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s claims.

Justices heard arguments in both cases in April and votes were cast behind closed doors shortly after. At this point in their tenure, the justices are working on their opinions, which will be announced publicly in the coming weeks. Supreme Court terms usually end by the end of June.

Trump and Jan. It seems unlikely that Alito will recuse himself from the 6 cases involved, but if he does, the Court will deadlock 4-4 if they are decided 5-4 with his participation. In those cases, lower court decisions stand.

In the Jan. 6 case, a ruling in the Justice Department’s favor comes from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In the immunity case, a unanimous three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit rejected Trump’s claims that he is broadly immune from federal prosecution.

If Alito rejects calls for his resignation, he may choose to explain why, as he did in September. Rejected the demands of the Democratic Party Detach from one The tax case was argued in December. Alito had Participated in interviews David Rivkin, an editor at the Wall Street Journal and an attorney, is representing the couple in the tax case.

“There is no valid reason for my dissent in this case,” Alito wrote in a four-page statement that was included in the Supreme Court’s list of routine orders.

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