Alito tells lawmakers he will not recuse from Supreme Court cases despite flag controversy

CNN — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told lawmakers in a letter Wednesday that he will not recuse from cases involving the 2020 presidential election or the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot despite concerns about two controversial flags that have flown on his properties.

“The two incidents you cite do not meet the conditions for recusal,” Alito wrote in a letter distributed by the Supreme Court. “As I have stated publicly, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of that flag. I was not even aware of the upside-down flag until it was called to my attention.”

The letter is a highly unusual response, underscoring how the revelations about the flags have dogged Alito for days. Supreme Court justices rarely get into a back-and-forth with lawmakers and many members of the court do not explain their reasons for recusing – or not.

The Supreme Court is weighing major cases tied to the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol. In one, the justices are weighing former President Donald Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion charges. In another, a January 6 rioter is challenging an obstruction charge filed against him by prosecutors, arguing that Congress intended that law to apply to people destroying evidence, not storming a government building.

Repeating claims he made previously about an upside-down US flag that flew at his Alexandria, Virginia, home in early 2021, Alito said the decision to place the flag was his wife’s. And he blamed that decision on a “very nasty neighborhood dispute.”

“My wife is a private citizen, and she possesses the same First Amendment rights as every other American,” Alito wrote in one of two letters sent to members of Congress. “She makes her own decisions, and I have always respected her right to do so.”



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