Alito tells lawmakers he will not recuse from Supreme Court cases despite flag controversy

In an unprecedented move, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has announced that he will not recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot, despite concerns over two controversial flags that have been displayed on his properties. The flags in question include an upside-down American flag and the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, which has historical significance but has also been adopted by some Trump supporters.

Alito clarified that he had no role in the decision to display the flags and attributed the actions to his wife, who he said possesses the same First Amendment rights as every other American. He maintained that the flags do not meet the conditions for recusal and expressed his intention to remain involved in the cases under consideration by the Supreme Court.

This decision comes as the court weighs significant cases linked to the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol, including former President Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion charges and a January 6 rioter’s challenge of an obstruction charge filed against him by prosecutors.

The revelations about the flags have sparked debates and calls for action from various lawmakers, with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin requesting that Alito recuse from cases involving the attack on the Capitol. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Hank Johnson have also pushed for the passage of the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act to address potential ethical lapses and establish a code of conduct for Supreme Court justices.

The controversy surrounding the flags was first reported by the New York Times, with neighbors in Alito’s community recalling the inverted American flag and the “Appeal to Heaven” flag being flown. The story has since been updated with additional details and is under continued review by various committees investigating ethical issues within the Supreme Court.