Chief Justice Roberts Turns Down Meeting Request on Alito Flag Issue


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rejected Democrats’ request on Thursday to have a meeting about flags raised at the properties of Justice Samuel Alito, pointing to “separation of powers concerns.”


Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito (L) and Clarence Thomas (R) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Following the Times stories, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent a letter to Chief Justice Roberts demanding Alito recuse himself from ongoing, high-stakes cases before the court related to former President Donald Trump and January 6. The Democrat senators claimed in their letter that the flags are evidence Alito “actively engaged in political activity, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” and that he “created reasonable doubt about his impartiality and his ability to fairly discharge his duties in cases related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack on the Capitol.”

Dick Durbin and Sheldon Whitehouse

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) (L) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (R) confer during a Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 24, 2022. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

In his rejection letter, Roberts said the Supreme Court will continue abiding by the same rules it has “followed for 235 years” regarding which individual justices decide recusal issues. He also pointed out that “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.”

The Associated Press

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts arrives before President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Separation of powers concerns and the importance of preserving judicial independence counsel against such appearances,” Roberts wrote.

Roberts also noted that Democrats have “expressed an interest” in the cases they are requesting Alito’s recusal from, making a meeting on the matter “inadvisable.”

Former President Donald Trump (L) and Emil Bove, attorney for former President Donald Trump (R), at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Monday, May 20, 2024. (Dave Sanders/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty)

The rejection letter came a day after Justice Alito wrote his own letter to Durbin and Whitehouse refusing to recuse himself from the ongoing Trump cases.

In his letter, Alito noted that his wife flew the upside-down American flag during a spat with a neighbor — a neighbor who reportedly called Alito’s wife a “c*nt” and held signs saying, “Alito was @Jan6” and “Abort SCOTUS.” He said his wife was also responsible for flying the Appeal to Heaven flag.

RELATED VIDEO — Students Re-Raise American Flag Taken Down by Anti-Israel Protesters at University of North Carolina:

Guillermo Estrada via Storyful

“I was not familiar with the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag when my wife flew it. She may have mentioned that it dates back to the American Revolution, and I assumed she was flying it to express a religious and patriotic message. I was not aware of any connection between this historic flag and the ‘Stop the Steal Movement,’ and neither was my wife,” he wrote. “She did not fly it to associate herself with that or any other group, and the use of an old historic flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings.”

Alito concluded in his letter that “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 the events “[do] not meet the applicable standard for recusal.”

“I am therefore duty-bound to reject your recusal request,” he wrote.

The pressure campaign against Alito is the latest from left-leaning media outlets and Democrats, who have also targeted conservative Justice Clarence Thomas and similarly demanded his recusal from politically expedient cases.

Katherine Hamilton
Katherine Hamilton
Politics reporter. Covering Life and Liberty.

Latest stories


Related Articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!
Continue on app