Senators Pressure Alito To Step Aside In Election Cases Amid Flag Controversy

Two Democratic senators requested a meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts to discuss Supreme Court ethics after reports surfaced that flags carried by Jan. 6 rioters were flown outside Justice Samuel Alito’s homes. They also urged Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election and the Capitol attack.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote to Roberts on Thursday, expressing concern over an inverted American flag seen at Alito’s Virginia home less than two weeks after the Capitol riot and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flown at his New Jersey beach house last summer.

The senators called for Alito’s recusal, arguing that the flags create doubts about his impartiality in cases involving the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

The court adopted an ethics code in November 2023 following criticism over undisclosed trips and gifts to some justices, but it lacks an enforcement mechanism. Durbin and Whitehouse have pushed for legislation to set stricter standards, facing opposition from Republicans.

“Until the Court and the Judicial Conference take meaningful action to address this ongoing ethical crisis, we will continue our efforts to enact legislation to resolve this crisis,” the senators wrote, pressuring the court to act.

The Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment regarding the letter.