WhatsApp Logo Subscribe
For News Alert

News

Supreme Court justice faces recusal calls over inverted US flag

By AFP

May 17, 2024 11:57 PM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

A US Supreme Court justice faced calls on Friday to recuse himself from cases involving Donald Trump after an inverted American flag -- a symbol of the former president's false election fraud claims -- was flown outside his home.

A January 2021 photograph of the upside-down flag outside the Alexandria, Virginia house of archconservative Justice Samuel Alito was published by The New York Times on Thursday.

The report has intensified scrutiny of the conservative-dominated nation's highest court as it prepares to rule on the scope of the former president's immunity from prosecution.

In a statement to the newspaper, the 74-year-old Alito said he "had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag," which was displayed in the weeks following the January 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

Alito, who was appointed by former Republican president George W. Bush, said the flag was "briefly" flown by his wife "in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs."

Another staunch conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, has also been the target of recusal demands because of his wife's involvement with efforts to block Democrat Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

Thomas, 75, the longest-serving justice on the court, has refused to step aside from Trump-related cases and recently described the nation's capital as an "awful place" full of "nastiness" and "lies."

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Alito should "recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection."

"Flying an upside-down American flag -- a symbol of the so-called 'Stop the Steal' movement -- clearly creates the appearance of bias," Durbin said.

"The Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making, and Justice Alito and the rest of the Court should be doing everything in their power to regain public trust," Durbin said.

"Supreme Court justices should be held to the highest ethical standards, not the lowest."

  'Beyond disturbed' 

Another Democratic senator, Richard Blumenthal of New Jersey, told MSNBC the flag report left him "beyond disturbed."

Blumenthal said Chief Justice John Roberts "has to tell these two justices that they have no business sitting on" the Trump cases.

The Supreme Court heard Trump's claim on April 25 that as a former president, he is immune from criminal prosecution.

Trump had been scheduled to go on trial in Washington on March 4 on charges of seeking to overturn the 2020 election, but the case has been on hold pending a ruling by the Supreme Court on the immunity question.

A ruling is expected by the end of June or early July but it is unlikely that a trial can take place before November, when the 77-year-old Trump is expected to take on the 81-year-old Biden in a rematch of their 2020 White House race.

The Supreme Court adopted an ethics code in November of last year following a series of scandals over lavish gifts and luxury vacations received by Thomas and Alito, both of whom have denied any impropriety.

The nine members of the court, three of whom were appointed by Trump, are the only federal judges not explicitly subject to ethical oversight, and pressure had been mounting from Senate Democrats for them to adopt a set of standards.

The nine-page Code of Conduct, which was signed by all nine justices, requires them to "uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary" and "avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities."

Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life.

The court's popularity is near historic lows, with a recent Gallup poll finding that only 41 percent of Americans approve of the job it is doing.


AFP


Most Read

  1. Powerful political mafia is out to sabotage Azm-e-Istehkam operation, says ISPR DG Powerful political mafia is out to sabotage Azm-e-Istehkam operation, says ISPR DG
  2. Fans can’t stop laughing after Salman Khan’s 'terrible' stare at Kim Fans can’t stop laughing after Salman Khan’s 'terrible' stare at Kim
  3. Internet goes crazy with Khaqan Shahnawaz 'flirtatious' remarks towards co-host in live show Internet goes crazy with Khaqan Shahnawaz 'flirtatious' remarks towards co-host in live show
  4. Roads flooded, power supply suspended as heavy rain lashes Punjab, AJK cities Roads flooded, power supply suspended as heavy rain lashes Punjab, AJK cities
  5. Lahore police bust honeytrap gang in Khalilur Rehman Qamar abduction case Lahore police bust honeytrap gang in Khalilur Rehman Qamar abduction case
  6. Look at Pakistan’s first AI influencer Shabnam Xai Look at Pakistan’s first AI influencer Shabnam Xai