Hakeem Jeffries Calls Out Samuel Alito For ‘Sympathizing’ With Jan. 6 Rioters


House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for “disrespecting the American flag” and called for increased ethical standards for the high court.

A report by The New York Times on Thursday revealed that an upside-down American flag could be seen flying outside Alito’s home not long after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol building.

After Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, the upside-down flag became a symbol of the “Stop the Steal” movement and was displayed by supporters of baseless election conspiracy theories.

“Samuel Alito should apologize immediately for disrespecting the American flag and sympathizing with right-wing violent insurrectionists,” Jeffries said in a statement Friday evening, responding to the Times report.

Alito told the Times that his wife put up the upside-down flag after their neighbors used “objectionable and personally insulting language” on yard signs. She hung the flag in response to a dispute with neighbors over a lawn sign that blamed her for the Jan. 6 riot, the justice told Fox News on Friday.

Echoing a similar call made by Sen. Dirk Dubin (D-Ill.) following the release of the Times report on Friday, Jeffries said that Alito should recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and called for ethics reforms.

“Congress should immediately consider legislation to impose an ethical code of conduct on a runaway Supreme Court. The Constitution demands and the American people deserve more from a justice serving on the highest court in the land than baseless election denial,” Jeffries said in the statement.

In November, the Supreme Court adopted an ethics code for the first time following scrutiny over undisclosed gifts justices had received from wealthy political donors. The code calls for justices to recuse themselves from proceedings if their “might reasonably be questioned,” such as if they have a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.

But lawmakers said that the code has no enforcement mechanisms apart from the honor system.

Several Democrats, including Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have also criticized Alito’s display of the upside-down flag, with some also calling for his recusal and for establishing a way to enforce the court’s ethics code.

“There is absolutely no way that Justice Alito can sit in judgment on the two cases where Donald Trump’s interests and the insurrection itself is directly involved,” Blumenthal told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Friday.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the judiciary committee, said that he will introduce a resolution of censure against Alito for the flag incident, claiming that it demonstrates the justice’s “political bias and constitutes a serious breach of judicial ethics.”

Many Republican lawmakers have not yet publicly commented on Friday’s report, including those who had defended Alito last year after a bombshell ProPublica report revealed he accepted an undisclosed trip from a GOP megadonor who later had cases before the court. But at least one prominent right-wing Republican, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark), hit back at the Times on Thursday, calling the report a “smear” meant to “intimidate justices, harass them at home, or worse.”