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Justice Alito Rejects Calls to Recuse From Election Cases Over Flag Flap

Justice Alito Rejects Calls to Recuse From Election Cases Over Flag Flap

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 01:40 PM EDT

Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants because of the controversy over flags that flew over his homes.

In letters to members of Congress on Wednesday, Alito said his wife, Martha-Ann, was responsible for flying an upside-down flag over his home in 2021 and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag at his New Jersey beach house last year. Both flags were like those carried by protesters who attacked the Capitol in January 2021 while echoing Trump’s claims of election fraud.

Neither incident at Alito's homes merited his recusal, wrote the justice, who has rejected calls from Democrats in the past to recuse on other issues.

"I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the events ... do not meet the applicable standard for recusal," he wrote. "I am therefore required to reject your request."

"As soon as I saw it, I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused," Alito wrote.

Trump, who was in New York while jurors deliberated in his hush money criminal trial, congratulated Alito for “showing the INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE, and ‘GUTS’” in refusing to step aside. “All U.S. Judges, Justices, and Leaders should have such GRIT,” Trump posted on his Truth Social platform.

Some Senate Republicans also quickly took to social media Wednesday to praise Alito for staying involved in the cases.

The court is considering two major cases related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the Capitol, including charges faced by the rioters and whether Trump has immunity from prosecution on election interference charges.

Alito has rejected calls from Democrats in the past to recuse on other issues.

The New York Times reported that an inverted American flag was seen at Alito’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, less than two weeks after the attack on the Capitol. The paper also reported that an “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flown outside of the justice’s beach home in New Jersey last summer.

Alito said he was unaware that the upside-down flag was flying above his house until it was called to his attention. “As soon as I saw it, I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused,” he wrote in nearly identical letters to Democrats in the House and Senate.

He had previously explained to the newspaper that his wife put up the flag as part of a nasty neighborhood dispute.

The flag at his beach house also was hoisted by his wife, Alito wrote, noting that the house is in her name and was bought with money she inherited from her parents.

“My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not,” he wrote.

Alito said he was unfamiliar with the “Appeal to Heaven” flag when it was flown, but he noted it dates back to the American Revolution. “I was not aware of any connection between this historic flag and the ‘Stop the Steal Movement′ and neither was my wife,” Alito wrote.

He said Martha-Ann Alito did not fly that flag to associate herself with the rioters or the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which Trump, a Republican, lost to Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Calling her an independently minded private citizen, Alito wrote, “She makes her own decisions and I honor her right to do so.”

Democrats in the House and the Senate sent a total of three letters last week to Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts seeking Alito's disqualification from the cases. Senators asked for a meeting with Roberts.

Alito said it was better that he respond directly.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


US
Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants because of the controversy over flags that flew over his homes.
alito, flag, supreme court, roberts, justice, senate
632
2024-40-29
Wednesday, 29 May 2024 01:40 PM
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