Democrats Call on Supreme Court Justice to Recuse Himself After Flag Confirmation

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
May 19, 2024US News
Democrats Call on Supreme Court Justice to Recuse Himself After Flag Confirmation
United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito poses for an official portrait at the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building in Washington on Oct 7, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Several Democratic officials suggested that there was a conflict of interest at play after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito confirmed that an upside-down flag was briefly flown at his home.

During an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said that there is a “very clear conflict of interest” after Justice Alito told another news outlet that his wife flew the upside-down flag in response to a conflict with a neighbor.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Justice Alito told The New York Times, which published the alleged photo of the flag that was flown outside his Virginia home on Jan. 17, 2021. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

In response, Mr. Raskin said that he thinks the justice knows that the upside down flag is a “political symbol” signaling “political distress.”

“What we need is to have, at the very least an ethics panel of Federal Circuit judges from around the country who we can bring complaints of bias in the event, in very likely event that Justice Alito does not decide to heed the calls to recuse himself from this case,” Mr. Raskin said during the MSNBC interview on Saturday.

“But it’s a very clear conflict of interest,” he insisted, without elaborating on why.

The U.S. Code states that the American flag “should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” The law does not contain any penalties for displaying a flag upside down.

Justice Alito, in comments to media outlets last week, did not say that the flag was flown upside down to signal any political distress.

Also Saturday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed that after Justice Alito’s comment, “we need to enforce a code of ethics, and we need term limits on the Supreme Court.”

“He should certainly recuse himself from any January 6 related case, from any case related to the to President Trump,” he continued, “Because he’s associated with the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement now whether he wants to be or not.”

The Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach, including one that offers questions on whether former President Donald Trump should be declared immune from criminal prosecution.

Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on the justice to recuse himself from cases connected to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 incident. Similarly, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said the justice should apologize for the flag incident.

In another statement, Justice Alito told Fox News in an exclusive statement that a neighbor had placed a “[expletive] Trump” sign close to where the Justice Alitos’ children wait for their school bus, prompting the jurist to confront the neighbor.

The situation escalated to the point that the neighbor put up another sign that blamed Mrs. Alito for the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. A man at the home also used an expletive when addressing Mrs. Alito in person, he said.

Mrs. Alito was distraught and then hung the flag upside down “for a short time,” Justice Alito added.

Justice Alito, 74, was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President George W. Bush in 2005 and is now one of the longest-serving justices. He is one of six justices who were appointed by Republican presidents. The other three were appointed by Presidents Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

In recent years, Democratic lawmakers have frequently claimed that the high court needs to impose more rules and regulations amid reports that targeted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for what he described as a friendship with billionaire Harlan Crow.

Justice Thomas recently said at an event that both he and his family have faced “nastiness” and “lies,” although he did not go into specifics. Around the same time in May, Justice Alito warned graduates at an Ohio college that freedom of speech and religion were both being targeted in the United States.

“Support for freedom of speech is declining dangerously,” he said at the event, noting that on college campuses, it’s even worse.

The Epoch Times contacted the Supreme Court for comment Sunday.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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