“Just Disgusting”: Reactions to Reporting that an American Flag Was Flown Upside Down Outside Justice Alito’s House After January 6

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that after January 6th 2021, an upside down American flag was flown outside of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house. While the flag was up, the Court was deciding whether or not to hear a 2020 election case. Leading up to and following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the upside down flag came to represent the so-called “stop-the-steal” movement. 

The news has disastrous implications for Samuel Alito’s partiality in deciding important cases related to the storming of the Capitol and former President Trump’s immunity. Despite his attempts to blame his wife, Alito is responsible for the dangerous ethics lapses that continue to degrade the public’s respect for the Supreme Court and therefore the stability of the rule of law. Congress must check this dangerous, extremist Court now and restore all Americans’ faith in the judicial system, which should be a bedrock of our democracy.

New York Times: At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display. “If Justice Alito were on another court, Mr. Fogel said, the flag could also trigger some sort of review to determine if there was any misconduct. But because the Supreme Court serves as the arbiter of its own behavior, ‘you don’t really have anywhere to take it,’ he said.” [New York Times, 5/16/24]

Newsweek: Supreme Court Justice Blames Wife as New Scandal Casts Shadow on Trump Case. “The conservative justice has come under fire after The New York Times reported Thursday that the symbol—which was used at the time by some supporters of former President Donald Trump to contest the election results—was seen flying on Alito’s lawn in Alexandria, Virginia, on January 17, 2021, according to photographs. Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed—despite a dearth of evidence—that his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden was due to widespread election fraud. The photograph of the inverted flag at Alito’s home was captured just 11 days after a mass of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 while Congress was certifying Biden’s win.” [Newsweek, 5/16/24]

Reuters: According to U.S. code for the flag, the flag should never be displayed upside down “except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” “The paper reported that the upside-down flag was photographed at Alito’s home in Alexandria, Virginia on Jan. 17, 2021, by neighbors who were alarmed by the symbolism. The Times said it recently obtained those images and included one in its report. According to U.S. code for the flag, the flag should never be displayed upside down ‘except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.’ Some Trump supporters displayed upside-down American flags in support of Trump following the 2020 presidential election, the Times said.” [Reuters, 5/16/24]

CNN: The story will heap further scrutiny on the high court at a time when it is already facing considerable blowback.“The revelation is almost certain to prompt calls for Alito, a member of the court’s conservative wing, to recuse himself from several high-profile cases pending before the court this year involving the election and subsequent attack on the US Capitol, including the blockbuster question of whether Trump may claim immunity from federal election subversion charges.” [CNN, 5/16/24

Independent: Supreme Court Justice Alito faces fury after scathing report on ‘stop the steal’ flag outside his home. “‘A Supreme Court justice—Samuel Alito—flying an upside-down flag outside his house, indicating Stop the Steal. I have no words,’ author Stephen King wrote.

‘So let me get this straight, A Supreme Court Justice’ spouse was mad that there was an anti Trump sign on her block… So she puts up a symbol in support for his attempted coup? And Sam Alito thinks that makes it okay?’ actor Jon Cryer noted.” [Independent, 5/16/24]

Joe Scarborough: “It’s Just Disgusting.” [MSNBC, 5/17/24]

Guardian: The image of the flag […] is likely to renew fears of partisanship among political appointees on the conservative-leaning court. “The image of the flag outside Alito’s home is likely to renew fears of partisanship among political appointees on the conservative-leaning court. The court has found itself at the epicenter of US culture wars in recent years for the rulings it has made, including a rollback of reproductive rights and a relaxation of restrictions relating to gun ownership.” [Guardian, 5/17/24]

HuffPost: A ‘Stop The Steal’ Symbol Was Displayed At Alito’s House In 2021. “While the flag was up, the Supreme Court was deciding whether to hear several cases about the integrity of the 2020 election. Alito was in favor of hearing the arguments but was ultimately on the losing side. Currently, the court is set to rule on two cases related to the Capitol riot, including one that could give Trump presidential immunity from some of the dozens of charges he’s facing.” [HuffPost, 5/16/24]

MSNBC: Why Justice Samuel Alito’s upside-down flag controversy matters. “We are, after all, talking about a sitting justice who has earned a reputation as the high court’s most unyielding ideologue, who has delivered a series of overtly political speeches, who’s issued public endorsements of a conservative advocacy group’s work, who thought it’d be a good idea to defend the Supreme Court’s integrity at a pro-Trump organization exactly two weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, who’s appeared a bit too cozy with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and who’s declared his indifference to congressional oversight in ways that were panned as ‘stunningly wrong.’” [MSNBC, 5/17/24]