Supreme Court Controversy Fueled by NYT Reporter’s Flag Obsession


The Supreme Court’s current term is concluding, and imminent decisions from the justices are expected. Recently, the court unanimously blocked a coordinated Democrat effort to exclude the top Republican candidate from the ballot. Additional rulings related to Democrats’ unprecedented legal actions against Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters will be forthcoming in the next weeks.

Left-wing activists, frustrated with the court—the last functioning institution they do not control in America—are trying to damage its credibility as the term ends.

One such activist is Jodi Kantor of The New York Times. Lacking legitimate grounds for critique, Kantor has resorted to writing numerous obsessive hit pieces focused not just on a Supreme Court justice, but on his wife’s choice of flags.

Indeed, really.

Kantor is disseminating a far-fetched conspiracy theory implying that the Appeal To Heaven flag, originally commissioned by Gen. George Washington, is a covert symbol for insurrectionists. Kantor argues that Samuel Alito should recuse himself from cases because his wife, Martha-Ann, displayed a historic and patriotic flag also seen on Jan. 6, 2021.

This claim is both ridiculous and illogical. The flag has broad usage, such that it was even flown for 60 years in Civic Center Plaza by the left-leaning city of San Francisco until recently. When The New York Times began its campaign against the flag, San Francisco removed it to assist the left’s challenge to the Supreme Court’s legitimacy. Notably, neither The New York Times nor any other left-wing media claimed it was a Jan. 6 flag until Kantor’s article appeared. Ironically, the Times’ detailed “Visual Investigation” of the Jan. 6 events, titled “Decoding the Far-Right Symbols at the Capitol Riot,” did not mention the flags flown by Martha-Ann Alito, according to various sources.

Kantor persists with her unsubstantiated flag-focused reporting, which only weakens claims against the Alitos. Martha-Ann Alito contends she flew the flag upside down in response to a conflict with her neighbors, who upset her by displaying political signs with profane language visible to children.

Even the mother of the neighbor who put up the offensive sign admitted she hesitated because it seemed “tacky.” Most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, find such behavior inappropriate. Furthermore, the neighbors disrespected Mrs. Alito by calling her a derogatory term when she tried to discuss the sign with them.

The absurdity of these claims hasn’t deterred media and Democrats. A coalition of left-wing groups backed by Arabella petitioned Senate Democrats to “launch an investigation” into Martha-Ann Alito’s lawn decorations.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who in 2020 threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh with violence if they didn’t rule in his favor, dramatically condemned the court for not enforcing recusals over the flags. Despite media suppression of anti-violence calls, an armed would-be assassin targeted Kavanaugh and his family outside their home.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., claimed the flag issue highlighted the court’s ethical problems. Whitehouse, a member of a whites-only beach club, faces his own ethics complaint for legislation benefiting his wife. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also pushed Kantor’s claims.

Jen Rubin of The Washington Post revealed that if Democrats win in 2024, they plan to remove the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, and impeach Alito over the flag issue.

This isn’t Kantor’s first attempt, with Democrat activists, to push false stories about the Alito family.

In 2022, Kantor spread fake news that the Alitos breached court protocol by leaking details of Hobby Lobby, a decision authored by Alito. Both the Alitos and the supposed recipients denied these allegations. Yet Kantor took the word of a politically motivated source known for lying about the court.

Kantor’s story appeared to deflect from the malicious leak of the Dobbs decision by a disgruntled court insider. Nevertheless, Democrats and media perpetuated the false claim to harm the court’s integrity.

The left is evidently trying to intimidate Justice Alito and influence the Supreme Court. The media are aiding this effort by treating Kantor’s reporting as credible, despite it being a manufactured controversy devoid of substance and common sense.

Thankfully, some recognition of this issue is emerging. A Politico article titled “Alito flag flap could have short shelf life in Washington” suggests the controversy may not last. However, Josh Gerstein’s article still pretends Kantor’s story is cause for legitimate concern.

The New York Times became the latest in a string of incidents that have further tarnished the image of the Supreme Court at a time of extreme polarization in American politics,” writes Gerstein.

However, the only thing genuinely tarnished is The New York Times and Jodi Kantor’s credibility for pushing baseless conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims.

Mollie Hemingway
Mollie Hemingway
Editor. Mollie Hemingway is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. She is the author of Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

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