Martha-Ann Alito: Upside-down flag a ‘signal of distress’

Martha-Ann Alito, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s wife, previously said hanging the American flag upside-down at their home in January of 2021 was “an international signal of distress,” according to a Saturday report from The Washington Post.

According to the Post report, a former reporter for the paper went to the Alitos’ northern Virginia home when tracking down a tip on the flag, a symbol connected with the “Stop the Steal” efforts. The flag wasn’t flying anymore when the reporter got to the house on the day of President Biden’s inauguration, but when the reporter encountered the Alito couple exiting the house, Martha-Ann told him to “get off my property.”

When the Post reporter questioned Martha-Ann about the upside-down flag, she reportedly responded, “It’s an international signal of distress!”

Samuel Alito has previously said he had “no involvement” in the flag flying upside-down at his home, which was reported by The New York Times last week to have flown on Jan. 17, 2021.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” the justice said to the Times when questioned on the flag. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

Alito faced another flag-based controversy this week when a second flag used by rioters that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was reported by the Times to have been displayed outside of a vacation home of the justice.

Democrats have come out swinging against Alito over reports of the flags, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) saying that they show “a pattern.”

“The first instance of the American flag in distress mode [Alito] dismissed as a chance indiscretion by his wife who was emotional about a confrontation with a neighbor. The second one really shows a pattern,” Durbin said.

“This is not a chance indiscretion. This is a conscious decision by the Alito family to advertise their political feelings. That doesn’t help the Supreme Court one whit, and he ought to accept the responsibility of recusing himself from cases involving the Trump administration,” the Illinois Democrat said.

Former national security adviser John Bolton is among those defending Alito against the claims, calling the attacks on the justice “outrageous, outrageous and unacceptable” in Wednesday comments.

The Hill has reached out to Alito for comment.

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