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(148,814 posts)
Fri May 24, 2024, 09:27 AM May 24

Second flag takes Justice Alito's mess to a striking new level

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito didn’t need another damaging revelation, but he’s now confronting one anyway. Is Congress prepared to do something?


By any fair measure, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was already one of the nation’s most controversial jurists, having earned a reputation as the high court’s most reflexively partisan ideologue. But the past week has taken questions about the far-right justice to a striking new level......

The justice didn’t need another damaging revelation, but he’s now confronting one anyway. The Times reported on a new flag controversy, this time related to his vacation house in New Jersey.

This time, it was the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, which, like the inverted U.S. flag, was carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it dates back to the Revolutionary War, but largely fell into obscurity until recent years and is now a symbol of support for former President Donald J. Trump, for a religious strand of the “Stop the Steal” campaign and for a push to remake American government in Christian terms.

According to the Times’ account, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, there’s considerable photographic evidence that the “Appeal to Heaven” flag flew at the Alito home in the summer of 2023 — around the time the Supreme Court was considering whether Jan. 6 rioters could be prosecuted for obstruction......

Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, for example, has introduced a censure resolution targeting Alito, and dozens of other House Democrats have written to the justice, pressing him to recuse himself from Jan. 6–related cases.

As of a couple of days ago, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters that he wasn’t prepared to hold a hearing on Alito’s controversies, but (a) that was before the Times’ latest reporting, and (b) Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and Durbin were still “discussing” possible next steps.

My MSNBC colleague Jordan Rubin made a persuasive case the other day that Alito, indifferent to appearances, will almost certainly ignore the calls from congressional Democrats, though I suspect those calls are poised to get quite a bit louder.
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Second flag takes Justice Alito's mess to a striking new level (Original Post) LetMyPeopleVote May 24 OP
Why Alito should, but probably won't, recuse from Jan. 6 cases LetMyPeopleVote May 24 #1
There is nothing that can be done Bettie May 24 #2
I guess Alito's wife had a beef with their vacation home neighbor too? Hugin May 24 #3
On top of everything he's now a demonstrated liar. bullimiami May 24 #4
Alito and Thomas have destroyed the SC's credibility. No one can trust them, Eyeball_Kid May 24 #5


(148,814 posts)
1. Why Alito should, but probably won't, recuse from Jan. 6 cases
Fri May 24, 2024, 09:29 AM
May 24

I like the Deadline White House Legal Blog.

As the Supreme Court considers critical Jan. 6-related appeals, a new report from The New York Times has raised more questions about the GOP appointee’s impartiality.


The Times reported Thursday:

After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag.

One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors.

“The upside-down flag was aloft on Jan. 17, 2021,” the Times reported, citing photos. In an email from Jan. 18, 2021, reviewed by the Times, a neighbor wrote to a relative that the flag had been upside down for several days at that point.

The Times reported that Alito said in an emailed statement that he “had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag” and that it “was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”.....

At any rate, Alito’s statement to the Times raises all sorts of questions that it doesn’t answer: Did he see the flag at his own home? If so, did he consider what it conveyed to the public as a Supreme Court justice weighing a 2020 election case? What was Mrs. Alito’s response supposed to convey? Does he agree or disagree with the message?

Regardless of the answer to these questions and others, it may be more important how the message from the Alitos’ home was received. The Times reported that neighbors “interpreted the inverted flag as a political statement by the couple.” That matters because, according to the high court’s (unenforceable) code of conduct, justices aren’t supposed to engage in political activity, which includes publicly endorsing or opposing candidates.

And when it comes to recusal specifically, the code says that a justice “should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Justice’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the Justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.”

Despite all of that — and perhaps because of it, given the justice’s perceived victimhood — don’t expect Alito to recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases. Indeed, he has already refused to recuse from a tax case this term, in a move further calling his judgment into question. In that case, Moore v. United States, in which a decision is still pending, Alito took the step of (unconvincingly) explaining his non-recusal in a statement. (Justice Clarence Thomas has, without explanation, ignored recusal calls in Jan. 6-related cases.)

In light of this new report, Alito should at least explain himself again. But even if he were to do so this time, given his past behavior and response to this latest story, don’t expect him to step aside.


(16,458 posts)
2. There is nothing that can be done
Fri May 24, 2024, 09:31 AM
May 24

he is functionally immune from any consequences.

He doesn't have to recuse, he doesn't have to be honest, he can take any bribes he pleases, because our system is based on the idea that most people involved in government will have some sense of honor or decency.

Well, that's not the case anymore. An entire party (and yes, the right wing justices are Republicans) has decided that honesty and ethics are for suckers.


(33,654 posts)
3. I guess Alito's wife had a beef with their vacation home neighbor too?
Fri May 24, 2024, 09:32 AM
May 24

She really needs to seek persecution management therapy.


(7,514 posts)
5. Alito and Thomas have destroyed the SC's credibility. No one can trust them,
Fri May 24, 2024, 09:47 AM
May 24

and no one in the right wing should trust them. THEY'RE FOR SALE. And even more disgusting is Jellyfish John Roberts. Was he born with a backbone?

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