Saturday 18 May 2024

Justice Alito Gives His Side Of Story On The Neighborhood Spat Behind NYT Flag Story

 Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was the subject of a New York Times report that attempted to tie him to supporters of former President Donald Trump who breached the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 — but the justice himself tells a very different story.

“At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display,” the NYT headline blared, with a sub-headline explaining, “An upside-down flag, adopted by Trump supporters contesting the Biden victory, flew over the justice’s front lawn as the Supreme Court was considering an election case.”

The piece briefly referenced a spat with a neighbor and quoted Alito as saying that he had not made the decision to fly the flag on January 17, 2021: “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

Justice Alito explained the context in further detail to “Fox News Sunday” anchor — and former Supreme Court correspondent — Shannon Bream, saying that his wife had been repeatedly provoked by neighbors hurling insults and using foul language before she resorted to flying the flag. Bream said that she “spoke directly” with Alito about the report.

“In addition to what’s in the story, he told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F*** Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21,” Bream began in a series of posts on X. “Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”


“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” she added.

“Justice Alito says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word,'” Bream continued.

“Following that exchange, Mrs. Alito was distraught and hung the flag upside down ‘for a short time.’ Justice Alito says some neighbors on his street are ‘very political’ and acknowledges it was a very heated time in January 2021,” Bream’s thread concluded.

The New York Times piece quoted several experts who argued that the appearance was all that mattered; whether or not he had made the decision to fly the flag, Alito was ethically and morally responsible for its presence at his home and how that might be viewed by others.

Judicial experts said in interviews that the flag was a clear violation of ethics rules, which seek to avoid even the appearance of bias, and could sow doubt about Justice Alito’s impartiality in cases related to the election and the Capitol riot.

The mere impression of political opinion can be a problem, the ethics experts said. “It might be his spouse or someone else living in his home, but he shouldn’t have it in his yard as his message to the world,” said Amanda Frost, a law professor at the University of Virginia.

This is “the equivalent of putting a ‘Stop the Steal’ sign in your yard, which is a problem if you’re deciding election-related cases,” she said.

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