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OPINION

Alito’s Opinion in a 2022 Christian Flag Case Flies in the Face of His Recusal Refusal

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Even before his insurrectionist flags scandal, Justice Samuel Alito was already facing ethics questions over his refusal to recuse in other cases, his association with a billionaire businessman, and his non-disclosure of luxury travel gifts. After weeks of damning reports about flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” conspiracy flying over not one but two of his homes, the Bush 43-appointed jurist in an indignant letter to Senate Democrats on Wednesday again refused to recuse, this time from any cases involving the attack on the nation’s capitol, or from cases involving the instigator of those assaults on the seat of government and American democracy itself, Donald Trump.

Justice Alito’s defense in his letter boils down to this sentence: “My wife is fond of flying flags.”

In his letter, Alito wrote for the first insurrectionist flag, an inverted American flag carried by some of the criminals who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, flown over the Alito’s Virginia home just days later, he was not just unaware, he suggested he was legally unable to take it down because he co-owns the house with his wife, and she flew the flag.

RELATED: ‘Liar’: Critics Question Alito’s Integrity After His Insurrection Flag Story Disintegrates

On the second insurrectionist flag, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, associated not only with the insurrection but with Christian nationalists and dominionists, the Supreme Court justice also defers to his spouse, because the New Jersey house it was flying over, he wrote, was purchased with his wife’s inheritance.

Alito does not end his defense there.

After explaining some of the reasons his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, chose to fly the flags, he continues his defense, writing: “I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the events recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal.”

On Thursday, journalist Chris Geidner, who writes about legal issues, declared, “Sam Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

“Alito lashed out in defiance,” Geidner wrote, detailing nine “demeaning quotes” from Alito’s letter.

But there’s another issue at play.

Justice Alito’s own opinion from a 2022 Supreme Court case, resurfaced Wednesday night by a social media user (below).

READ MORE: ‘No Moral Compass’: Legal Experts Call for Intervention After Alito Refuses to Recuse

In 2019, as NCRM reported, Liberty Counsel, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, sued the City of Boston on behalf of its client to allow a different Christian flag to be flown at City Hall. Its client was Hal Shurtleff, the director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, a group that claims its mission is to “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage,” and “the genius of our United States Constitution.”

It also says its mission is to “expose some of the abuses and perversions that have brought our nation and economy so far down.”

The case made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2022, Shurtleff won. In his concurring opinion, Justice Alito had a different take on what a reasonable person would think when seeing a flag being flown.

“As the Court rightly notes, ‘[a] passerby on Cambridge Street’ confronted with a flag flanked by government flags standing just outside the entrance of Boston’s seat of government would likely conclude that all of those flags ‘conve[y] some message on the government’s behalf.’ ”

He also noted, “The government can always disavow any messages that might be mistakenly attributed to it.”

According to Alito’s letter, no “reasonable person” who saw those two flags flying at his two homes would associate them, and the Alitos, with the insurrection, or Christian dominionism, and thus here is no need for his recusal.

In his 2022 opinion, a “passerby” would conclude the owner of the flagpole was conveying a message, but the flagpole owner could “disavow” those messages.

As Geidner notes, “Alito believes you — and, perhaps, his colleagues — are stupid.”

Clearly, many Americans, and certainly top Democrats including the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a top advocate of court reform, have equated the flying of those flags to indicate Alito’s support for the insurrection, or at least the appearance of it.

“By displaying the upside-down and ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flags outside his homes, Justice Alito actively engaged in political activity, failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and failed to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” Durbin and Whitehouse wrote. “He also created reasonable doubt about his impartiality and his ability to fairly discharge his duties in cases related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack on the Capitol. His recusal in these matters is both necessary and required.”

A social media user dug up and posted the Alito opinion in the 2022 Christian flag case, eliciting this comment from professor of law and former U.S. Attorney, MSNBC’s Joyce Vance:

See the social media post above or at this link.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

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OPINION

‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

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Donald Trump’s first return to Capitol Hill since the violent and deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he fomented elicited responses of celebratory embrace, near-coronation, and a whitewashing of history from House and Senate Republicans and some of the mainstream media. That has critics sounding the alarm, likening their remarks to those of the subjects of authoritarian dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, a convicted felon awaiting sentencing who remains criminally indicted and out on bail in three other jurisdictions, an adjudicated rapist and fraudster who has been credibly accused by at least 18 to 23 or more women of varying degrees of sexual misconduct including harassment, assault, and rape, who allegedly had sex with a Playboy Bunny, and a porn star, the latter just four months after his third and current wife had given birth to their four-month old son.

He is a one-term, twice impeached ex-president who made over 30,000 “false or misleading claims” during his four years in the Oval Office, whose “inept and insufficient” response was in part responsible for about 40% of the COVID-19 pandemic deaths in the U.S., according to a February 2021 study that deemed them preventable.

And as of today, Donald Trump is 78 years old, and the subject of a New Yorker column published Friday alleging “age-related diminishment of a candidate.”

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

The ex-president met with House Republicans Thursday morning at the same restaurant where a pipe bomb was found outside on January 6, 2021. It’s just a seven-minute walk from the halls of Congress, where many of those same lawmakers who were jovially dining with and cheering on Trump, had huddled, hunkered-down, and fled through that centuries-old symbol of American democracy, afraid for their lives as supporters of the then-Commander-in-Chief – some of whom have said in court documents they believed were acting under his instructions – attacked the U.S. Capitol building and police, used the American flag as a spear, defecated on the walls, broke windows, damaged, destroyed, and stole U.S. Government property, hunted for the Democratic Speaker of the House, calling her by name, and hunted for the Republican Vice President, chanting their threats to “hang Mike Pence,” in a coordinated effort to help Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election he had lost by over seven million votes, and 74 Electoral College votes.

None of that matters now to the people’s elected representatives of the Republican Party in the House and Senate.

U.S. Senator, venture capitalist, and former “Never Trumper,” J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Thursday, walking in Washington, D.C. after he and nearly all of the Republican Senators met with Donald Trump and gave him a 30-second standing ovation, told reporters the GOP has absolved Trump of guilt and responsibility for the deadly insurrection three years ago.

“Well look, I think no real Republican with any credibility in the party is still blaming him for January the 6th. Frankly, some of his critics were in the room (Thursday) and were supportive and are supportive. So I think it’s a good thing and the Republican Party’s in a good place.”

After House Republicans had breakfast with Trump, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, criticized for apparently not remembering Congress is a co-equal brach of the U.S. government and Donald Trump is no longer a leader of any branch of government, glowingly bragged the ex-president “said I’m doing a very good job.”

Aaron Fritschner, deputy chief of staff for a Democratic U.S. Congressman, blasted Senate Republicans after they met with Trump, saying they “just rolled the red carpet out and welcomed him back with smiles and handshakes.”

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

He posted a photo of Trump warmly shaking hands with Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who reportedly had not spoken to Trump since before the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S Capitol, and on that day declared him “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection.

Journalist and Public Notice founder Aaron Rupar posted a “supercut” of Republicans responding to Trump’s visit, also likening their embrace to how subjects speak of dictators.

Award-winning Talking Points Memo publisher Josh Marshall praised Rupar and blasted Republicans: “For all the ‘triumphant returns’ and ‘Trumps flexes’ and all the rest I don’t think anyone beside @atrupar really captured it. This was Pyongyang in the Rotunda. The maniacal clapping in unison, MTG almost breaking down in tears cuz Trump smiled at her. Total North Korea vibe.”

Critics are slamming not only House and Senate Republicans, but the mainstream media’s coverage, especially a social media post by the Associated Press, which declared Trump’s return to D.C. “triumphant,” a term often reserved for a conquering or undefeated hero.

Veteran journalist and D.C. Bureau Chief of Mother Jones, David Corn, co-author of the 2018 book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” criticized the AP’s post, saying: “Sounds like a North Korean report.”

Award-winning journalist Steve Silberman called the AP’s post, “an instant candidate for the Museum of American Fascism.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

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OPINION

‘We Do Not Remember When You Tried to Have Us Killed’: GOP Slammed for Trump Standing Ovation

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Donald Trump returned to Capitol Hill Thursday, the first time since the violent and deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he fomented, spending the morning with House Republicans and the afternoon with Senate Republicans – who for more than 30 seconds gave the criminally convicted and still criminally-indicted ex-president a standing ovation.

Critics slammed Republicans for honoring a convicted felon whose “Big Lie” and actions put their own lives at risk, and resulted in death and tremendous injury and violence during and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol and on American democracy.

“Republican senators just gave a standing ovation to the convicted felon who wants to pardon the violent mob that broke into and defecated all over our nation’s Capitol,” The Lincoln Project said on social media. They added, “He sent bloodthirsty mob after these people on January 6th.”

READ MORE: ‘He Said I’m Doing a Very Good Job’: Mike Johnson Slammed Over Remarks on Trump Meeting

“Congressional Republicans just gave a standing ovation to the re-election losing, twice impeached, quadruply indicted, adjudicated rapist, business fraud & convicted felon who sent a rabid mob to attack them & their colleagues 3 years ago,” wrote activist and social media influencer JoJoFromJerz, who has nearly one million followers on X. “And that is how you know it is a cult.”

“It’s really not very complicated or subtle. And no one denies it,” observed Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski. “Trump requires total loyalty to him or he’s at war with you. Loyalty over the law, the constitution, and the country. And his party has sworn an oath of omertà and fealty to him uber alles. And surrendered America.”

“We are with you Dear Glorious Leader Trump Eternal. We do not remember when you tried to have us killed so you could stay in power. No, Dear Leader, we applaud for you. Your rule is mighty and you are all-powerful!” mocked professor of communication Jennifer Mercieca.

Watch the short clip below or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty

 

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OPINION

‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Wednesday celebrated Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Republicans, barely blocks away from where the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy itself took place. Many hold the-then president and his “Big Lie” responsible for the insurrection, and he has been indicted on charges related to it.

Johnson was asked if the ex-president is committed to and respects the peaceful transfer of power.

The Speaker’s response has angered some critics.

Johnson has a tenuous grip on his gavel and on the House GOP majority. He has already faced one vote to remove him, and survived it thanks to House Democrats. To shore up his power, Johnson has traveled to Mar-a-Lago to appear with the indicted and now criminally-convicted ex-president, and has promoted several pieces of legislation critics say only serve as messaging vehicles to please Trump.

Pointing out that this will be the first time Trump has met with both House and Senate Republicans in D.C. since the January 6 insurrection, a reporter Wednesday morning asked the Speaker, “are you committed or have you spoken about basically not doing anything like that again and committing to respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer?”

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

Johnson, whose emotions are often on view, repeatedly frowned and looked irritated as the reporter spoke.

“Of course he respects that,” Johnson said frustratedly. “And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

“We’re excited to welcome President Trump back and he’ll be meeting with the Senate Republicans of course, after he has a breakfast with us. And there’s high anticipation here and great excitement.”

Ahead of Johnson’s remarks CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane had posted where Thursday’s meeting with House Republicans and Donald Trump will take place.

If there were no question about Donald Trump’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power – and there is given to this day he calls insurrectionists, “warriors,” “victims,” “hostages,” and “patriots” – the Speaker would not need to be discussing it “ad nauseam.”

As a backbencher before being elevated to Speaker, Johnson was not just a little-known congressman, he was an architect of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Johnson spread election fraud conspiracy theories and lies, as a CNN investigation published in April confirmed.

READ MORE: Speaker Johnson on Why He Thinks Hunter Biden’s Conviction Is Valid but Donald Trump’s Is Not

Also back in April, Johnson tried to rewrite history, whitewashing the role of insurrectionists and those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, saying some of them were “innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

Highlighting those remarks, The New Republic reported, “the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.”

Critics were quick to call out Johnson’s remarks.

Veteran journalist John Harwood responded, saying, “by lying here, Johnson shows he understands that what he and House GOP helped Trump do in Jan 2021, and what Trump intends to do again if necessary, is wrong.”

He added, “if he weren’t ashamed of it, he’d tell the truth.”

Award-winning CNBC/NBC News reporter Carl Quintanilla responded to Johnson’s remarks with a 4-second clip of a someone who appears to be attacking law enforcement with the American flag on January 6.

“Bullshit,” declared former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh. “Trump is humanly incapable of accepting an election loss. He will NEVER respect the peaceful transfer of power. And Mike Johnson knows that.”

The Biden campaign reposted the video and remarked, “(No, he clearly does not).”

Media critic and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob responded with: “Mike Johnson is a lying traitor.”

Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn wrote: “Given that Trump has promised to pardon the 1/6 insurrectionist rioters who attacked the Capitol, he’s not showing much respect for the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson is lying for Trump. That’s not very Biblical.”

Watch Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

See the video and social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty

 

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