06/24/2024

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Left FILE - Associate Justice Samuel Alito joins other members of the Supreme Court as they pose for a new group portrait, at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 7, 2022. Alito says Congress lacks the power to impose a code of ethics on the Supreme Court, making him the first member of the court to take a public stand against proposals in Congress to toughen ethics rules for justices in response to increased scrutiny of their activities beyond the bench. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File); Right:

Prominent judicial advocacy group says Justice Alito ‘can’t be trusted with American democracy’ and calls for him to ‘recuse from any case related’ to Trump or Jan. 6

Associate Justice Samuel Alito joins other members of the Supreme Court as they pose for a new group portrait (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File); Right:
With the U.S. Capitol in the background, a demonstrator waves an upside down American flag before a rally in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito recently came under fire for an upside-down American flag seen flying at his house in late January 2021 – a bit of symbolism widely viewed as signaling agreement with Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Now, a progressive judicial advocacy organization says the lifetime-appointed jurist “can’t be trusted with American democracy.”

The Alliance for Justice, a sprawling umbrella group encompassing well over 100 non-profit organizations, is demanding Alito no longer take part in high court case having anything to do with the 45th president or the Jan. 6, 2021, pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Related Coverage:

    On Thursday, the legal and political establishment was rocked by a New York Times report about having obtained photos of an upside down flag displayed at the Alito home on Jan. 17, 2021. President Joe Biden would be inaugurated three days later as the nation grappled with the still-fresh aftermath of the unprecedented Jan. 6 riot.

    While unclear how long Old Glory was displayed upside-down outside the Alito residence, the paper reported reviewing an email sent on Jan. 18, 2021, from one of the Alitos’ neighbors to a relative indicating the flag had already been flown upside-down for several days.

    Notably, at the time, the nine justices were considering a case about the 2020 election as well as two cases about the Jan. 6 incident, including one case concerning Trump’s immunity from legal action. About a month later, the Supreme Court would go on to reject the cases over a dissent written by Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Much hay has been made, for years now, of revelations that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, Clarence Thomas’ wife, sent text messages to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging him to try and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

    Alito, for his part, foisted the blame for the seemingly pro-conspiracy theory protest on his own wife in a statement to the Times.

    “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Alito said. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

    That excuse, however, has been widely ridiculed and panned – and apparently some legal minds don’t find it convincing either.

    “Supreme Court justices are supposed to be the ultimate guardians of our Constitution, yet now we know of two who are sympathetic to violent attempts to overturn our democracy,” AFJ President Rakim H.D. Brooks, an appellate lawyer, said in a statement provided to Law&Crime. “Now we know that Alito’s willingness to rewrite history includes overturning the results of the 2020 election.”

    “We call on Justice Alito to recuse from any case related to President Trump or the January 6 insurrection; it’s clear that he’s incapable of being impartial on these cases and our democracy cannot be trusted in his hands,” Brooks went on.

    In 1987, the AFJ was part of a coalition that successfully worked to keep then-president Ronald Reagan’s controversial nominee Robert Bork from being confirmed to the Supreme Court.

    Elected Democrats, echoing earlier and ongoing calls for Thomas to resign, or at least recuse himself from Trump- and Jan. 6-related cases, have also called for Alito to take himself off such cases.

    Justice Thomas, for his part, has recused in at least one such case concerning pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman – which the court declined to hear. Perhaps explaining the recusal, Eastman once served as the justice’s law clerk. Additionally, his case revolved around email evidence he sought to block from public disclosure – under the argument that they were covered by attorney-client privilege. One such email contained a direct reference to Justice Thomas.

    The likelihood of Alito blanket refusing to consider cases seemingly implicated by the discrete meaning behind an upside-down American flag in January 2021, is largely considered slim to nonexistent.

    Some legal commentators have called for Alito’s impeachment over the flag flap, while others have dismissed the idea out of hand.

    The U.S. Supreme Court does not have an enforceable code of ethics.

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    The post Prominent judicial advocacy group says Justice Alito ‘can’t be trusted with American democracy’ and calls for him to ‘recuse from any case related’ to Trump or Jan. 6 first appeared on Law & Crime.