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Double Standard? Dems Still Trying to Force Justice Alito Recusal Over 'Appeal to Heaven' Flag

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing scrutiny for refusing to recuse himself from cases related to January 6th after two controversial flags were reportedly displayed at his homes.

One of these flags, the "Appeal to Heaven" flag, has historical ties to Christianity and has been linked to modern political movements, including Trump supporters.

The "Appeal to Heaven" flag, which dates back to the Revolutionary War, has seen a resurgence in recent years. The flag, known for its association with philosopher John Locke and used by George Washington to inspire troops, was displayed outside Alito's vacation home last year. 

ANALYSIS: What the 'Appeal to Heaven' Flag Is REALLY About, and the Spiritual Significance of the Banner

An upside-down American flag, a traditional distress signal, was also seen outside his Virginia home in 2021. Both incidents were reported by the New York Times, sparking significant controversy.

Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have criticized Alito's actions, suggesting that his display of these flags disqualifies him. "What he did was really the wrong thing to do and it casts some doubt on impartiality," Schumer said. 

Democrats are calling for hearings and urging Alito to recuse himself from cases linked to the 2020 Presidential Election and the January 6th Capitol riot. However, analysts believe the likelihood of Alito being forced to recuse himself is low.

Among the Democrats trying to make an issue of it, Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) publicly questioned whether Alito's motive. "Is this just a chance indiscretion or is it a conscious declaration of his MAGA loyalty?" 

Media Double Standard

Meanwhile, conservative voices, such as talk show host Erick Erickson, argue that the media coverage reflects a double standard. 

"The media organizations that have bought into this story from the left are also the ones giving the judge in the Donald Trump trial a complete pass for giving money to a fund that was specifically earmarked to stop Donald Trump and also his right-wing legacy," Erickson said.

In response, Alito has maintained that his recusal is not warranted. In a letter to Congress, he said, "The two incidents you cite do not meet the conditions for recusal. As I have stated publicly, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of that flag." He says it was his wife flying the flags, and he asked her to take them down.

The controversy has highlighted broader concerns about the impartiality and ethical practices of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts declined an invitation from Democratic senators to discuss their concerns, further intensifying the debate.

As the political battle over the symbolism and impartiality of the judiciary continues, this issue remains a contentious topic in Washington.

Donald Trump has praised the Justice for his stance.

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About The Author


Tara Mergener is an award-winning journalist and expert storyteller who spent the majority of her career as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She worked at CBS Newspath for many years, reporting for all CBS platforms, including CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the nation. Tara also reported at CNN, Hearst’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was a contributor on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren. Tara has won dozens of awards for her investigative and political reporting, including Headliner Foundation’s Best Reporter in Texas, multiple Edward R. Murrow awards, Texas Associated Press