Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2022.

(Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Senate Probe of Alito Insurrection-Linked Flags

"Every single minute matters," said the Democratic congresswoman, "and we have to use our power when we have it."

Urging Democratic lawmakers to use the power they currently hold in the U.S. Senate, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday night called on party leaders in the upper chamber to launch immediate investigations into the insurrection-linked flags that were seen flying outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's homes.

Hours after The New York Times reported that last year, an "Appeal to Heaven" flag associated with the baseless claim that President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump had been displayed at Alito's beach house, the New York Democrat appeared on "All In with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC and said the party must waste no time in holding Alito accountable.

"What we are seeing here is an extraordinary breach of not just the trust and the stature of the Supreme Court, but we are seeing a fundamental challenge to our democracy," Ocasio-Cortez said.

The flag, which was carried by pro-Trump rioters who attempted to stop the 2020 election from being certified on January 6, 2021, reportedly flew in July and September 2023 at Alito's beach house in New Jersey—around the time that a case regarding whether January 6 insurrectionists could be charged with obstruction arrived at the Supreme Court.

Last week, it was revealed that an upside down American flag—another historic symbol adopted by right-wing insurrectionists and "Stop the Steal" supporters—was flown at Alito's home near Washington, D.C. The justice claimed the flag was displayed by his wife during a dispute with a neighbor.

Legal experts and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly called on both Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse themselves from certain cases due to conflicts of interest following reports of luxury travel and gifts they received from right-wing operatives. Advocates have demanded Thomas' recusal from cases centering on Trump and January 6 defendants, considering his wife's support for efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Trump's favor.

Now, critics are demanding Alito's recusal from the obstruction case and one regarding Trump's claim that he has immunity in his federal election interference case, both of which the court is expected to rule on in the coming weeks.

Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday night said Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee should use their current majority to subpoena Alito and demand answers about his affinity for symbols embraced by groups that sought to overturn the 2020 election.

“I don't even think that we have to wait until we have a Democratic House majority because we have a Democratic Senate majority,” she said. "Samuel Alito has identified himself with the same people who raided the Capitol on January 6 and is now going to be presiding over court cases that have deep implications over the participants in that rally. And while this is a threat to our democracy, Democrats have a responsibility for defending our democracy."

"There should be subpoenas going out. There should be active investigations that are happening," she said, adding that Democrats cannot take "for granted" that they will be able to take action after the November elections, after which Republicans could take power.

"Every single minute matters," she said, "and we have to use our power when we have it."

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