Democrats Demand Alito Recusal Over Flag Controversy, Seek Roberts Meeting

Senate Democrats called for Justice Samuel Alito to remove himself from the bench for any of the cases dealing with the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol protest, citing reports of flags associated with the riot flying outside his homes. They also requested a meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts to discuss the Supreme Court’s “ethics crisis.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and subcommittee head Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent a letter to Roberts on Friday, expressing concern over an upside down American flag displayed at Alito’s Virginia residence in January 2021 and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag seen at his New Jersey vacation home in the summer of 2023.
The flag has been associated with seeing serious and concerning issues with the contested 2020 presidential election.

“By displaying the upside-down and ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flags outside his homes, Justice Alito actively engaged in political activity, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” the senators wrote.

The court currently has two pending cases involving the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 protest, and Alito participated in both during oral arguments. The Democratic senators are complaining that his recusal in these matters is “both necessary and required.”