'Stop the Steal' Flag Flew at Alito's House

Justice says his wife displayed the symbol to respond to a neighbor's signs
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2024 7:25 PM CDT
'Stop the Steal' Flag Flew at Alito's House
US Supreme Court police stand outside the home of Justice Samuel Alito on May 5, 2022, in Alexandria, Va.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

The week after Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, some carrying an upside-down American flag to represent the "Stop the Steal" movement that contends the 2020 presidential election was rigged, the symbol was on display outside the home of a US Supreme Court justice. Samuel Alito's neighbors, as well as photos, attest to the flag being flown at his Virginia home on Jan. 17, 2021, the New York Times reports. That was three days before Joe Biden was inaugurated as president.

"I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag," Alito wrote in an email to the Times. "It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs." Another family on the Alexandria street had put up an anti-Trump sign with an obscenity around the time of the 2020 election that apparently offended Martha-Ann Alito, and the situation escalated. In January, the court was considering whether to hear a case related to the presidential election, and it still has decisions ahead about the Capitol riot, as well as Trump's claim of presidential immunity.

The Supreme Court repeatedly has told its employees not to publicly display their political views, and yard signs and bumper stickers are prohibited, per the Times. Ethics codes for lower courts warn against public statements on issues that could come before them, and the code of conduct revealed last fall by the Supreme Court addresses the matter in nonspecific, unenforceable ways. "The best practice would be to make sure that nothing like that is in front of your house," said Jeremy Fogel, a former federal judge and the director of the Berkeley Judicial Institute. If Alito sat on most any other court, he said, the flag display would prompt a review into whether misconduct was involved. (More Samuel A. Alito stories.)

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