Raskin on upside-down flag at Alito home: ‘It’s a very clear conflict of interest’

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said the upside-down flag that flew briefly at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home demonstrates a “very clear conflict of interest.”

Raskin told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart during an interview Saturday that Alito’s response to The New York Times’ reporting of the incident shows that the justice understands it is a “political symbol” to turn the American flag upside down, adding that it’s a sign of “political distress.”

“If it were not a very clear political symbol whose meaning is well understood, Justice Alito would not have gone to great pains to blame everything on his wife,” Raskin said.

The Times reported last week that the flag was flown upside down on Jan. 17, 2021.The upside-down flag has often been associated with “Stop the Steal” efforts that are based on unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Alito has maintained that he had “no involvement” with the upside-down American flag flying at his home following the 2020 election, saying that his wife was to blame.

“What we need is to have, at the very least an ethics panel of Federal Circuit judges from around the country who we can bring complaints to of bias in the event, in very likely event that Justice Alito does not decide to heed the calls to recuse himself from this case,” Raskin said on Saturday.

“But it’s a very clear conflict of interest,” he added.

The reported upside-down flag has rekindled questions about ethics guidelines for Supreme Court justices. Raskin said the U.S. should have an Inspector General for the Supreme Court “to be reviewing all of the very inadequate financial disclosures.”

“If you’re in the US House of Representatives or you’re from U.S. Senate, you know, members don’t even go to Starbucks and accept free coffee from a lobbyist. But if you’re on the Supreme Court, there are members taking automobiles, stagecoaches, private school tuition for family members, they’re helping to pay for family members property,” he said.

“It’s like you know, the billionaire sugar daddies, who are in that Federalist Society ecosystem are able to fasten on to particular justices,” he added.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases related to Jan. 6, 2021, including one regarding whether former President Trump has immunity from prosecution. Following last week’s report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on Alito to recuse himself from any cases involving the 2020 election and Jan. 6, including Trump’s case.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also called on Alito to apologize “for disrespecting the American flag and sympathizing with right-wing violent insurrectionists.”

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