Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts, reject Trump-related demands from Democrats

 May 31, 2024

Democrats in the House and Senate, overtly motivated by their vehement opposition to former President Donald Trump, recently attempted to interfere with and impose their will on a co-equal branch of government, the Supreme Court, with demands for the recusal of conservative Justice Samuel Alito from specific Trump-related cases as well as demands for a meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts.

On Wednesday and Thursday, however, both Alito and Roberts, respectively, rejected those Democratic demands politely and professionally, according to the Associated Press.

Alito sent letters to both House and Senate Democrats to inform them that he would not recuse himself from the two Trump-related cases, while Roberts informed Democratic leaders on the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would not attend a meeting with them.

Alito's letters refusing recusal requests

NBC News reported that Democrats in both chambers of Congress had demanded Justice Alito disqualify and recuse himself from two specific cases the Supreme Court is considering but has yet to rule on -- former President Trump's claimed immunity from prosecution and the Justice Department's dubiously broad usage of an obstruction charge against Trump and hundreds of Jan. 6 Capitol rioters.

The demands stemmed from a recent media-manufactured outrage over certain historically symbolic flags that were observed outside Alito's Virginia home and a New Jersey vacation property -- an upside-down U.S. flag, long known as a symbol of national distress, and a Revolutionary War-era "Appeal to Heaven" flag, both of which were also seen being carried by some of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters in 2021.

In his nearly identical letters to Democrats in the House and Senate, Alito explained that the flags had been flown by his wife, Martha-Ann, without his involvement or knowledge and for nonpartisan reasons. He also aptly observed that his wife is an "independently minded private citizen" with "First Amendment rights" to freely express her views without his or anybody else's approval or permission.

The justice also cited the same Supreme Court Code of Conduct the Democrats were attempting to use to force his recusal and pointed to a provision they apparently overlooked which states that "A Justice is presumed impartial and has an obligation to sit unless disqualified."

In a subtle dig at the obvious motivations behind the recusal demands, Alito wrote in the letters, "A reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that this event does not meet the applicable standard for recusal. I am therefore duty-bound to reject your recusal request."

Roberts rejects request for a meeting

Meanwhile, coinciding with the Democratic demands for Justice Alito's recusal from the two Trump-related cases was an overt pressure campaign aimed at Chief Justice Roberts mounted by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Oversight Subcommittee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to try to convince him in a meeting to force Alito's recusal.

However, The Hill reported that Roberts sent a letter on Thursday to Durbin and Whitehouse that said, "I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting."

"As noted in my letter to Chairman Durbin last April, apart from ceremonial events, only on rare occasions in our Nation’s history has a sitting Chief Justice met with legislators, even in a public setting (such as a Committee hearing) with members of both major political parties present," he continued.

"Separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence counsel against such appearances," Roberts added. "Moreover, the format proposed -- a meeting with leaders of only one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the Court -- simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable."

Impending court rulings could save Trump from further legal trouble

Though likely not intentional, and certainly not guaranteed, those letters from the Supreme Court justices to Democrats in Congress, particularly Alito's letters, possibly secured former President Trump's chances of victory in the two specific cases and saved him from continued politically motivated prosecutions, at least at the federal level.

If the court rules against the DOJ's use of the obstruction charge against Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, there go two of the four charges pressed by Special Counsel Jack Smith against Trump in the 2020 election-related case in Washington D.C., while a ruling in favor of even partial immunity for Trump will undoubtedly delay, if not completely undo, both of Smith's prosecutorial efforts against the former president.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.