Pressure Mounts for Justice Alito to Recuse Himself from Election Interference Cases and for Congress to Investigate Alito and the Court’s Handling of Ethics Concerns

Washington, DC – After news broke yesterday that a second flag associated with the 2020 effort to overturn the election was flown at Justice Samuel Alito’s beach house, reaction was swift. Demands for an investigation and hearings into Justice Alito’s actions have been mounting.

In response, Demand Justice managing director Maggie Jo Buchanan said the following:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee must investigate Justice Alito’s ties to the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. At minimum, the justice is comfortable with insurrectionist symbols being brazenly displayed outside his home. To protect the standing of the Court, he must recuse himself from all election cases, and we continue to call on Senator Durbin to not only investigate Alito’s actions but the Court’s handling of these serious ethics concerns.”

NYT: Another Provocative Flag Was Flown at Another Alito Home. “This time, it was the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag, which, like the inverted U.S. flag, was carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it dates back to the Revolutionary War, but largely fell into obscurity until recent years and is now a symbol of support for former President Donald J. Trump, for a religious strand of the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign and for a push to remake American government in Christian terms.” [New York Times, 5/22/24]

Guardian: Leading Democrats demand Alito face investigation after second report of far right-linked flag. “Ocasio-Cortez also weighed in during an interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes late on Wednesday, calling on Senate Democrats to launch ‘active investigations’. The congresswoman said: ‘What we are seeing here is an extraordinary breach of not just the trust and the stature of the supreme court, but we are seeing a fundamental challenge to our democracy.’ She added: ‘Samuel Alito has identified himself with the same people who raided the Capitol on January 6 and is now going to be presiding over court cases that have deep implications over the participants of that rally.And while this is the threat to our democracy, Democrats have a responsibility for defending our democracy.’” [Guardian, 5/23/24]

NBC News: “…Democrats on the committee said they were alarmed by the situation and wanted to look into it.” “Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., the second-ranking Judiciary Democrat, said ‘we should investigate’ the Alito incident. He said that it was ‘too early to tell’ what a probe should look like but that it should ‘obviously’ involve subpoena power, if necessary. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., said he’d support an investigation. ‘There’s no way he was unaware of it,’ Padilla said.” [NBC News, 5/20/24]

The Hill (Opinion): Alito’s upside-down flag has destroyed confidence in the Supreme Court. “Public perception of the judiciary’s integrity is crucial for maintaining the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. When justices appear to be influenced by partisan politics, it erodes the public’s confidence in their rulings. The recent incident involving Justice Alito’s home is a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining a clear separation between personal beliefs and judicial responsibilities. Any indication that a justice might sympathize with extremist views can have far-reaching consequences for the court’s reputation and its ability to function effectively.” [The Hill, 5/22/24]