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Why Samuel Alito’s Flag Debacle Warrants a Full Investigation



Why Samuel Alito’s Flag Debacle Warrants a Full Investigation

What’s Dick Durbin going to do now?

Earlier this week, the New York Instances reported that an the other way up flag—an emblem for the “Cease the Steal” motion—had been flown exterior Samuel Alito‘s residence in January 2021. In response, the highest Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee referred to as for the Supreme Court docket justice to recuse himself from election subversion circumstances, however steered to reporters he was helpless to take extra concrete motion, given the Republican opposition to ethics reform. “I don’t assume there’s a lot to be gained with a listening to at this level,” Durbin mentioned Monday.

That sense of resignation to a scandal-scarred court docket wasn’t ok then. However Durbin’s remarks appear much more missing now, after the Instances revealed Wednesday that Alito’s obvious show of partisanship—which he blamed on his spouse—would not finish with the the other way up flag in 2021: Final summer time, but one other pro-symbol of the MAGA-backed riot—generally known as an “Enchantment to Heaven” flag—was flown exterior his trip residence in New Jersey, footage of which had been taken in July, August, and September of final 12 months, across the time a case associated to the January 6 Capitol assault had arrived on the excessive court docket. The flag, which has its roots through the Revolutionary Conflict, has been revived lately as an emblem of help for former President Donald Trump, and was carried by numerous insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol in his identify in an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

Experiences of a second far-right, pro-Trump image at Alito’s residence underscore issues about his judicial integrity and independence, in addition to the broader legitimacy of the Supreme Court docket, whose six-member conservative majority has regularly acted as one thing of an enforcement arm of the Republican Celebration. Because of this, Durbin reiterated his name for Alito to recuse himself Wednesday, and for the court docket to “undertake an enforceable code of conduct.” However he as soon as once more stopped wanting saying what he’d do to push them.

Durbin has lengthy been essential of the excessive court docket, and held a listening to final 12 months—after a corruption scandal erupted round Clarence Thomas—to push for stronger ethics, transparency, and recusal guidelines. “We predict all of the justices ought to be held to the identical customary, a minimum of of the opposite courts in america,” Durbin advised me on the time. However the effort ran right into a brick wall of opposition from the GOP, which accused Democrats of attempting to “destroy” the John Roberts court docket, and that dynamic doesn’t appear to have modified. “We have to depart the Supreme Court docket alone,” Mitch McConnell, the right-wing majority’s chief architect, mentioned Monday.

With nothing greater than some light criticism for Alito from a handful of Republicans, as Durbin lamented, the Senate math is just not on the aspect of reform: “There’s no recourse apart from impeachment, and we’re not at that time in any respect,” he advised reporters Monday. However that doesn’t imply there’s nothing to be gained from taking motion. This can be a critical matter, because the senator and his colleagues acknowledge; as such, it deserves to be taken significantly by critical elected officers, even when their less-serious counterparts stand in the best way. “This isn’t regular,” Maggie Jo Buchanan, managing director of the watchdog Demand Justice, mentioned in a press release Wednesday. “Congress should act.”

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