Dems Call for Alito to Recuse Himself From Jan. 6 Cases Over Upside-Down Flag

The backlash is mounting after The New York Times reported last week that an upside-down flag flew outside the house of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ahead of President Biden’s inauguration in January 2021. On Tuesday, a coalition of over 40 House Democrats sent a letter to Alito calling for the justice to recuse himself from cases pertaining to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The letter was obtained by HuffPost.

“Even if you had ‘no involvement’ in the display yourself, the fact of such a political statement at your home creates, at minimum, the appearance of improper political bias,” reads the letter, which adds that “reasonable people will doubt” Alito can be impartial when ruling on cases about whether “Mr. Trump should face criminal prosecution for his actions arising from the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement.”

As the Times noted in its report, at the time an upside-down flag was a popular symbol of solidarity among Trump’s supporters who believed the 2020 election was rigged. Alito has yet to provide a reasonable explanation for why the upside-down flag was flown outside of his house, telling the Times his wife put it up “in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard sign.” He further explained to Fox News that his wife had complained to neighbors who put out a “Fuck Trump” sign near a children’s bus stop, and one of those neighbors later called her “the C-word” — and that’s why she decided to hang the flag upside down.

Supreme Court justices are currently weighing whether Trump should be immune from prosecution for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as he was president while the alleged crime was committed. During oral arguments last month, Alito seemed dubious that presidents shouldn’t have immunity, and at one point brought up the hypothetical scenario of a president ordering the military to assassinate a political rival.

“Presidents have to make a lot of tough decisions about enforcing the law,” Alito said. “If he makes a mistake he’s subject to the criminal laws like anybody else?”

“Making a mistake is not what lands you in a criminal prosecution,” replied Michael Dreeben, a lawyer for the Justice Department, which has charged Trump criminally for his role in the attempted insurrection.

Democrats aren’t the only ones irked by the political display outside Alito’s house. “Emotions are apparently high in that neighborhood but no, it’s not good judgment to do that,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) told HuffPost on Monday. “I don’t know what role ― he said his wife was insulted and got mad ― I assume that to be true, but he’s still a Supreme Court justice. And, you know, people have to realize in moments like that, to think it through.”

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