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Coordinated Attack On Alito Aims To ‘Undermine The Court’s Legitimacy’

Coordinated Attack On Alito Aims To 'Undermine The Court's Legitimacy'

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)

Calls from Democratic lawmakers and left-wing groups for Justice Samuel Alito to recuse himself from key cases over ethics violations are a “coordinated effort” to delegitimize the Supreme Court, according to experts who say the attacks on conservative justices are becoming more consistent with each passing year.

The “An Appeal to Heaven” flag, one of the foremost flags used by Patriot forces including, George Washington, during the Revolutionary War, was flown at Alito’s vacation house last year, according to a New York Times report published this week, drawing outrage from Democrats who claim it was also a key symbol during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. It marked the second time in two weeks that the justice’s flag poles became a topic of controversy, and the report prompted calls from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) for Alito to recuse himself from cases involving former President Donald Trump and the 2020 election, all because a handful of protesters carried the Revolutionary War-era flag on Jan. 6, 2021.

Congressional Democrats and activist groups are turning up the pressure on Alito in the wake of the flag controversy. Despite pushback from legal experts and voices on the Right, Democrats and left-wing groups have sought throughout Biden’s presidency to raise questions about key Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court and have done so by relying on the strategy of attacking their ethics.

“The Left has been constantly attacking the court since at least March 2020 when Sen. [Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] stood in front of the court during an oral argument on an abortion case and directly threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on their vote,” Mark Paoletta, ex-general counsel for Trump’s Office of Management and Budget and a close friend of Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, said.

Paoletta specifically recalled that the last three years have shown a pattern of leaks or reports that elevate Supreme Court scrutiny “in the springtime, as the court nears the end of the term and big decisions will be handed down.”

In May 2022, there was the leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Decision that signaled the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade, a leak that has remained unsolved despite its damaging impact on the institution. Last year, ProPublica launched a dedicated series in the spring questioning Thomas’s ethics, specifically over gifts of vacations that billionaire Harlan Crow gave to Thomas, just before the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action.

“And now there’s the Trump cases in 2024,” Paoletta said, adding that the reporting about flags flown months ago in front of Alito’s home arrived near the end of the current term “like clockwork.”

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