Alito refuses Democrats’ request for recusal on flag case

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TL/DR –

Justice Samuel Alito has refused to recuse himself from two Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump, despite calls from Democrats for him to do so due to two controversial flags flown outside his homes. Alito clarified that he and his wife, who was responsible for the flag choice, were not aware of the meanings now attributed to the flags and did not consider the incidents grounds for recusal under the Supreme Court’s code of conduct. The Democrats argued that the upside-down American flag and “Appeal to Heaven” flag flown outside Alito’s homes created an appearance of impropriety and warranted his removal from matters related to the January 6 Capitol riot or the 2020 election.


Justice Samuel Alito Refuses Recusal in Trump-Related Supreme Court Cases

Justice Samuel Alito firmly denies calls for his recusal in two Supreme Court cases involving ex-President Donald Trump due to two controversial flags outside his residences.

Alito addressed House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday, stating his lack of involvement in the flag incidents. He clarified that neither flag incident warrants recusal under the Supreme Court’s code of conduct.

Democrats cited New York Times reports of an inverted American flag and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flown at Alito’s homes as grounds for perceived impropriety. They contend this necessitates Alito’s recusal from cases linked to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot or the 2020 election.

Alito, a President George W. Bush appointee, maintains he was uninvolved in flying either flag, attributing this to his wife’s interests. He reiterated this in his letters.

Alito explained in his correspondences that he requested his wife to remove the inverted American flag flown briefly outside his Virginia home in 2021. He insists his wife’s reasons for flying the flag, stemming from a distressing neighborhood dispute, are irrelevant. Alito maintains he and his wife are private citizens with individual First Amendment rights.

The Alitos’ supposedly independent flag decisions were reported in a 2021 incident involving a Washington Post journalist. The reporter was informed about the inverted flag by a neighbor. The Washington Post decided not to publish the story in 2021, deeming it a continuing neighborhood dispute not implicating Justice Alito.

In his letters, Alito reiterated his wife’s legal right to use their jointly-owned Virginia property as she wishes. He further clarified that his wife also flew the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, adding that neither flag holds any additional implications for them.

Alito addressed Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and subcommittee head Sheldon Whitehouse in one letter. They had requested a meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts to encourage Alito’s recusal from Trump-related cases. Alito’s other letter was directed to House Democrats who shared similar views.

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