Justice Samuel Alito: Democrats insult Supreme Court justice after photo of upside-down US flag is released


A follow-up to Justice Samuel Alito’s scathing condemnations Friday Reverse American flag On January 6, 2021, he was flown out of his home after the attack on the US Capitol, which renewed calls from the left for Congress to impose ethical standards on the Supreme Court.

The New York Times A photo of the flag was released on Thursday It said she was spotted at the judge’s home in Alexandria, Virginia on January 17, 2021, days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated. Alito told the Times that he had “no involvement” in hanging the flag and said it was “briefly put up” by his wife.

This explanation did not satisfy critics, who noted that the Supreme Court is hearing several related cases this year after the 2020 elections. The upside-down flag has become a symbol for supporters of former President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed widespread election fraud.

“These things are not normal,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walls, a Democrat, told CNN on Friday. “I am appalled that a Supreme Court judge would have to explain why his wife flew a flag upside down in response to a riot.”

Last fall, it was adopted in response to a series of revelations about the trip Alito And Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court adopted a code of conduct for the first time. That code directs judges to “abstain from political activity,” and many judicial ethics experts speculated that the incident with Alito was serious enough to violate those rules.

“The display of such a political symbol in one’s front yard, with a clear message about the 2020 election, falls under this code rule, and Justice Alito should disqualify himself from cases involving 2020 election challenges,” he said. Renee Nake Jefferson is a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center.

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“But the code doesn’t require him to do so,” Jefferson added. “In the end, he’s the only one to take.”

By adopting the code of conduct last year, Chief Justice John Roberts led Democratic efforts in Congress to impose an ethics code on the high court. But the code’s provisions are self-executing, and many of the court’s critics argue that the document does not adequately address the scandals that have plagued the high court over the years.

“If any other federal court judge had done this, the allegation would be questioned because it calls into question a person’s ability to fairly adjudicate a case,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN in a statement.

“Through a long string of problematic behavior leaked to the press, far-right judges have demonstrated that they too should be subject to an enforceable code of ethics,” Whitehouse said. “They are not capable of fending for themselves.”

Illinois Democrat and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Turbin called the incident “the latest proof” that Congress needs to pass ethics reform for the high court.

“Flying the American flag upside down — the symbol of the ‘Stop the Steel’ movement — clearly creates an impression of bias,” Turbin said in a statement. “Judge Alito should immediately recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6 uprising, including the question of the former president’s immunity.”

Republicans, at least initially, were more muted in their response — or didn’t address the criticism.

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, also sits on the Judiciary Committee. He blamed the media for attempting to “intimidate the judges, harass them at home, or worse, incite another gang.”

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A spokesperson for the Supreme Court did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

News of the flag comes at a critical moment in the Supreme Court’s term, with the justices racing to complete their opinions by a self-imposed deadline of the end of June. The court has public support was near historic lows Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. And there are signs that a combination of contentious cases and ethical scandals have soured relations domestically.

when Remarks at a judicial conference last week In Alabama, Thomas lamented the loss of partnership compared to the court he joined in 1991. Thomas has made similar comparisons before, although he did so early in his comments last week — and without prompting — to suggest those tensions are still high in Manatin.

“We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family,” Thomas told the conference. “It would be unimaginable Leak a comment Do something to harm someone out of court or on purpose.

The Supreme Court is weighing two major cases related to the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol. In one, the judges Weighted Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from special counsel Jack Smith’s election tampering allegations. In another, the January 6 rioter Challenging An obstruction charge was filed against him by prosecutors, who argued that Congress intended the law to apply to people who destroy evidence rather than siege a government building.

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