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Dem Rep. Pushes DOJ To Force Recusal Of Alito, Thomas In Jan. 6 Cases

FILE - Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito pauses after swearing in Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense during a ceremony with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, July 23, 2019. A second flag of a type carried by rioters during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was displayed outside a house owned by Alito according to a report published May 22, 2024, by The New York Times. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) argued that the Department of Justice could force the recusals of Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito in cases the court is facing related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

“Everyone assumes that nothing can be done about the recusal situation because the highest court in the land has the lowest ethical standards — no binding ethics code or process outside of personal reflection,” the Maryland Democrat said in an opinion piece in The New York Times published Wednesday. “Each justice decides for him- or herself whether he or she can be impartial.”

Raskin then noted that Alito and Thomas “could choose to recuse themselves,” but that “begging them to do the right thing misses a far more effective course of action.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice — including the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, an appointed U.S. special counsel and the solicitor general, all of whom were involved in different ways in the criminal prosecutions underlying these cases and are opposing Mr. Trump’s constitutional and statutory claims — can petition the other seven justices to require Justices Alito and Thomas to recuse themselves not as a matter of grace but as a matter of law,” Raskin continued.

Alito and Thomas have faced recent calls to recuse themselves from cases related to the Jan. 6 attack due to controversies over flags reportedly flown at Alito’s houses linked to the “Stop the Steal” effort, and Thomas’s wife’s reported involvement in that same effort.

“The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland can invoke two powerful textual authorities for this motion: the Constitution of the United States, specifically the due process clause, and the federal statute mandating judicial disqualification for questionable impartiality, 28 U.S.C. Section 455,” Raskin said.

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