U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito poses for the official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 2022.

(Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrats, Progressive Groups to Demand Probe of Alito Over Insurrection Flags

"This is a justice who is going to weigh in on cases that are about our democracy, about the former president's participation in an insurrection," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

A pair of House Democrats and a coalition of progressive advocacy groups on Wednesday will hold a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court demanding a Senate probe into right-wing Justice Samuel Alito, who is under fire after reporting revealed that flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection were displayed at two of the judge's homes in recent years.

Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will join the leaders of Stand Up America, MoveOn, Demand Justice, and other advocacy groups at the Wednesday press conference, which is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am ET.

"Participants will call on Senate leadership to launch a full and thorough investigation into Justice Alito's actions as well as push forward essential legislation to reform the Supreme Court," organizers said in a press advisory.

Johnson, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation last year that would establish 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices. Jayapal has also been a vocal supporter of Supreme Court ethics reforms.

The press conference will come days after Alito rejected calls to recuse from pending cases related to former President Donald Trump and the January 6 insurrection after The New York Timesreported that the justice and his wife flew an upside-down American flag and the "Appeal to Heaven" flag at their homes in Virginia and New Jersey.

Both flags were "carried by rioters at the Capitol on January 6, 2021," the Times noted.

"To say that it has no bearing that his wife was flying not just one but two flags is really disturbing."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said following publication of the Times stories that his panel "has been conducting a thorough investigation into years of ethical lapses by some justices on the Supreme Court—and the committee has been reviewing the latest reporting on Justice Alito as part of this ongoing investigation."

"Flying the American flag upside down at his home is a signal of defiance, which raises reasonable questions about bias and fairness in cases pending before the court," Durbin added.

In letters to members of Congress last week, Alito blamed his wife for flying the two flags and claimed 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 this event does not meet the applicable standard for recusal."

Jayapal, one of the Democratic lawmakers who demanded Alito's recusal, called the justice's response to the request "outrageous" and said he "had an obligation" to step away from cases involving Trump and the 2021 Capitol attack.

"This is a justice who is going to weigh in on cases that are about our democracy, about the former president's participation in an insurrection," Jayapal said in a CNN appearance last week. "To say that it has no bearing that his wife was flying not just one but two flags is really disturbing."

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