Critics blast left's 'coordinated effort' to undermine SCOTUS ahead of key rulings

 May 26, 2024

A recent controversy involving flags flown outside a Supreme Court justice's homes has sparked new debate over ethics, recusal requirements, and perceptions of bias.

Amid calls for him to step aside from any Jan. 6-related cases before the high court due to the actions of his wife, Justice Samuel Alito has been the subject of what some are calling a “coordinated effort” to undermine the panel at a particularly pivotal time, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Flag Furor erupts

As Fox News reported, the New York Times recently published an image that was taken in January 2021 of an upside-down flag being flown at the Alito family home in Virginia.

The Times noted that following the Jan. 6 Capitol demonstrations, the upside-down flag was adopted by some as an expression of doubt about the validity of the 2020 election results in which Joe Biden was declared the winner.

It was unclear why the story came to the forefront over three years after the fact, but the justice offered a swift explanation about what occurred, noting that his wife was behind the flag display and did so amid an ongoing dispute with a neighbor she says put vulgar, anti-Trump signage close to a school bus stop.

The Times also reported that an “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a symbol used during the Revolutionary War, was seen flying at the Alitos' vacation home last year, prompting further outrage from several key figures on the left who are now questioning the justice's impartiality.

Nadler, Durbin demand recusal

Among those calling for Alito's recusal from all Jan. 6-related cases are Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Speaking on MSNBC's The Weekend, Nadler demanded that the high court adopt an enforceable code of ethics, not to mention defined limits on their tenure on the bench.

In reference specifically to Alito, Nadler added, “He should certainly recuse himself from any January 6 related case, from any case related to President Trump” and alleged that the justice is “associated with the 'Stop the Steal' movement now, whether he wants to be or not.”

Durbin has also echoed demands for Alito's recusal, though there has yet been no indication that the justice has any intention to accede.

Conservative jurists under attack

In response to the flag controversy and the associated fallout, supporters of Alito have echoed concerns from a number of court observers who believe that attacks on conservative-leaning justices are becoming the norm.

Mark Paoletta, former general counsel for the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, noted, “The Left has been consistently attacking the court since at least March 2020 when Sen. [Chuck] Schumer stood in front of the court during an oral argument on an abortion case and directly threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on their vote.”

He further referenced a ProPublica report from last year in which the ethical commitment of Justice Clarence Thomas was questioned in relation to his friendship with Republican megadonor Harlan Crow.

With the latest wave of attacks on Alito, Paoletta says, it is clear that the left is, “like clockwork,” seeking “to intimidate the conservative justices and try to force a baseless recusal or to have them trim their sails on an opinion,” but hopefully their attempts will bear no fruit as the country awaits several critical decisions.

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