Key Dem senators seek meeting with chief justice over Alito flags

Key Democratic senators, both sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee, are seeking to meet with Chief Justice John Roberts over recent reports of controversial flags being displayed at Justice Samuel Alito’s homes.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) demanded to meet with Roberts “as soon as possible” to talk about the Supreme Court’s “ethics crisis” and urged the chief justice to “ensure” that Alito recuses himself from all cases related to the efforts to overturn the 2020 election and Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

“We also renew our call for the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of conduct for Justices,” the senators wrote in a letter released Friday. “And we request a meeting with you as soon as possible, in your capacity as Chief Justice and as presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States, to discuss additional steps to address the Supreme Court’s ethics crisis.”

The plea for a meeting comes after The New York Times reported last week that an inverted U.S. flag, associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement, was flown at Alito’s Alexandria, Va., home. The revelation caused a backlash from many Democrats in Congress — and even some Republicans. The Times reported this week that Alito’s beach house flew an “Appeal to Heaven” flag — a flag adopted by Jan. 6 protesters, although it was designed during the Revolutionary War.

What is an ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag?

Following the first report, Durbin had called on Alito to recuse himself from all Jan. 6 related cases. After the latest report from the Times, Democrats in the Senate have said the nation’s highest court is “out of control” and is pushing a “partisan” agenda.

“These displays at Justice Alito’s homes are not the only recent instances of a Supreme Court justice’s failure to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety,” they said in the letter.

“Although together the Court and the Judicial Conference have the ability and responsibility to enforce ethics rules applicable to the justices, it remains unclear what actions—if any—the judiciary has taken in response to allegations and reporting on ethical misconduct by Supreme Court justices.”

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