Home Top News Supreme Court Justice Alito addresses flag incidents, says he won’t recuse himself in Trump, Jan. 6 cases

Supreme Court Justice Alito addresses flag incidents, says he won’t recuse himself in Trump, Jan. 6 cases


Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has written letters to lawmakers in the House and Senate responding to concerns about the flying of an upside-down American flag outside his home in Virginia, and an ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag at a vacation home in New Jersey. 

In the letters, Alito said he won’t recuse himself from former President Trump’s immunity case or other cases relating to the 2020 presidential election or the Jan. 6 Capitol protests. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is among those who have called on Alito to recuse himself from such cases following a revelation that an upside-down flag was flown at his home in Virginia a week after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.  

‘Flying an upside-down American flag — a symbol of the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement — clearly creates the appearance of bias,’ said Durbin in a statement. 

‘Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering,’ he added. 

But Alito, in a message to Durbin and the other lawmakers addressed Wednesday, wrote that the two incidents ‘do not meet the conditions for recusal.’ 

He said of the Virginia incident, ‘I had nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of that flag. 

‘I was not even aware of the upside-down flag until it was called to my attention,’ Alito continued. ‘As soon as I saw it, I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused.’ 

Alito said, ‘My wife and I own our Virginia home jointly’ and she ‘therefore has the legal right to use the property as she sees fit, and there were no additional steps that I could have taken to have the flag taken down more promptly.’ 

Alito wrote in his letter that his wife was ‘greatly distressed at the time due, in large part, to a very nasty neighborhood dispute in which I had no involvement.’  

He told the lawmakers, ‘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 recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal’ and ‘I am therefore required to reject your request.’ 

Alito also said he had ‘no involvement in the decision’ to fly a flag ‘bearing the legend ‘An Appeal to Heaven’ that flew in the backyard of our vacation home in the summer of 2023.’ 

‘My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not. My wife was solely responsible for having flagpoles put up at our residence and our vacation home and has flown a wide variety of flags over the years,’ said the Supreme Court justice. 

Alito said he was not familiar with the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag when his wife flew it and that ‘she may have mentioned that it dates back to the American Revolution, and I assumed she was flying it to express a religious and patriotic message.’ 

‘She did not fly it to associate herself with that or any other group, and the use of an old historic flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings,’ Alito concluded. 

Fox News’ Julia Johnson and Shannon Bream contributed to this report.

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