‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol Was Displayed at Justice Samuel Alito’s House While He Considered Trump Election Case

Alito blamed his wife for "briefly" erecting an upside down flag — a symbol used by Trump supporters who believed the presidential election was stolen — outside their home in January 2021

<p>Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty </p> Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022

Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty

Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022

Photographic evidence was obtained of an upside-down flag flying in front of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's house — a symbol then used in support of Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" movement — at the same time the high court was deliberating whether to hear a case regarding the validity of the 2020 election results.

A New York Times report published on Thursday, May 16, revealed a photograph of the inverted flag flying in front of Alito's home in Alexandria, Va., provided by an unidentified neighbor. The photo was reportedly taken on Jan. 17, 2021, three days before the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

At the time, the Supreme Court — including Trump-aligned Alito — was deciding whether to take up a case about the 2020 election. Alito, who wanted to hear the case, was on the losing end of that decision.

Related: Donald Trump Will Remain on Colorado's 2024 Primary Ballot, Supreme Court Rules in Stunning Reversal

Supporters of Trump had also displayed the upside-down flag earlier that month, during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capital riot.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Alito wrote in a statement to The New York Times. "It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

<p>Win McNamee/Getty</p> An upside down American flag

Win McNamee/Getty

An upside down American flag

According to the U.S. Flag Code, flying the American flag upside-down is only meant to be done "as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." But in recent years, it has become a bipartisan act of rebellion.

About a year after Trump supporters adopted the symbol, progressive activists also began flying the flag upside-down in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.

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Ethics experts told The Times that any evidence of the upside-down flag flying in front of Alito's home in 2021 could be seen as a biased act and therefore a violation of ethics rules of the Supreme Court, which, "seek to avoid even the appearance of bias," per the report.

Amanda Frost, a law professor at the University of Virginia, told the newspaper that the symbol flying in front of Alito's home was "the equivalent of putting a ‘Stop the Steal’ sign in your yard, which is a problem if you’re deciding election-related cases."

"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,” she said.

Alito's possible bias has led to calls for his recusal from two major, ongoing Supreme Court cases involving the Jan. 6 riot. The court's decisions could have a significant impact on Trump's reelection chances in 2024.

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