Liberals Are Smearing Alito with Upside-Down Flag Story – Here’s the Real Point

If you want a TL;DR description of the to-do over the upside-down flag at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s house, I can sum it up for you in one sentence: Same old witch-hunt, different witch.

As those who’ve followed the news over the past year or so know, that the left has been engaged in a secular jihad against Justice Clarence Thomas, part of which has to do with the statements of his wife in regards to the outcome of the 2020 election. Somehow, liberal pundits seem genuinely shocked that Americans have mostly tuned them out, believing that husbands and wives can have differing opinions. The nerve of the right-wing ghouls!

So Clarence-Thomas-as-traitor was a bit like “fetch”: despite leftists trying to make it happen, it wasn’t going to happen. But suppose they tried the same tactic on a different conservative justice? That’s the ticket!

A headline from The New York Times last week brings critical news about Justice Samuel Alito’s exterior home decor just three years after it happened:

“At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display; An upside-down flag, adopted by Trump supporters contesting the Biden victory, flew over the justice’s front lawn as the Supreme Court was considering an election case.”

The Thursday story by Jodi Kantor was what we’ve come to expect from the Times when it comes to a story about a supposed misdeed allegedly committed by a conservative: A touch of truth larded up with slanted conjecture and pull-quotes obtained from sympathetic scholarly types recruited to say whatever the reporter can’t if a patina of objectivity is to be maintained.

So first, the basics, as per Kantor: “After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag,” she wrote.

“One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors.”

Indeed, a photo published by the Times indicates the flag was present outside the Thomas home on Jan. 17, 2021, just days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The upside-down flag is a violation of U.S. federal flag code, which notes the stars and stripes “should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

Now, a few paragraphs into the story, you get a plausible explanation from Alito as to why it was displayed that way:  “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” he wrote in an emailed statement 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.”

Given that Alito and the rest of the Supreme Court were pretty busy around that time, this is a plausible explanation. That said, the “judicial experts” the Times was able to scrounge up told them “that the flag was a clear violation of ethics rules, which seek to avoid even the appearance of bias, and could sow doubt about Justice Alito’s impartiality in cases related to the election and the Capitol riot.” Because of course it could.

“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,” University of Virginia law professor Amanda Frost told the Times. She added that it was “the equivalent of putting a ‘Stop the Steal’ sign in your yard, which is a problem if you’re deciding election-related cases.”

“You always want to be proactive about the appearance of impartiality,” said former federal judge Jeremy Fogel, currently the director of the Berkeley Judicial Institute.

“The best practice would be to make sure that nothing like that is in front of your house.”

It’s somewhat ironic that, in the selfsame week the left is having a meltdown over Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker suggesting to female graduates at a Catholic college that their most fulfilling role might be as a wife and a homemaker, the Times manages to scrape together enough legal scholars who suggest a conservative Supreme Court justice ought to be in complete control of managing his wife’s opinions.

If you’re searching for ideological consistency, you couldn’t find less of it than the faux outrage over the upside-down flag, which no real evidence ties to the justice himself.

In fact, those the outlet talked to seemed to indicate it was Mrs. Alito who was responsible for it: “In recent years, the quiet sanctuary of his street, with residents who are Republicans and Democrats, has tensed with conflict, neighbors said. Around the 2020 election, a family on the block displayed an anti-Trump sign with an expletive. It apparently offended Mrs. Alito and led to an escalating clash between her and the family, according to interviews.”

But leave it to the left-wing media to seize upon Alito’s upside-down flag as the new witch-hunt du jour. Take Newsweek, which had this article the day after the Times’ piece: “Republicans Slam Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.”

Make that “Republicans” — in very prominent quotation marks.

First, Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former Trump administration aide who’s become a NeverTrumper since her exodus to “The View,” wrote in a social media post that “a SCOTUS Justice would allow this to be displayed at his home days before a peaceful, lawful transition of power is deeply disturbing.”

“My conservative friends: imagine for a minute if Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor displayed an upside down flag at her residence when Trump won in 2016. There would outrage & calls for her resignation,” she wrote in another.

Then there was anti-Trump former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the Democrats’ Jan. 6 committee. He called it “a huge issue.”

Newsweek also cited a former adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, the anti-Trump Lincoln Project and the American Enterprise Institute, none of which are major players in the Republican Party of May 2024. So two (2) big-name kinda-sorta Republicans — who are best known for bashing former President Donald Trump — are pretending to be aggrieved over the fact Alito’s wife maybe violated the flag code. Whoop dee doo.

And tucked away in between these quasi-Republicans going off on Alito was this little disclaimer: “An upside-down flag has been used to protest the results of a U.S. election before. On January 20, 2001, a demonstrator was photographed waving an inverted flag in the streets of Washington, D.C., in protest of then-President-elect George W. Bush who was being sworn in that day after a contested election between him and former Vice President Al Gore.” (Emphasis added.)

In fact, a People magazine article published roughly two months before the Times dug up the 3-year-old Alito smear chronicled “How Flying the American Flag Upside Down Became a Bipartisan Act of Rebellion.”

“These days, however, hanging the Stars and Stripes upside down is seen as more of a symbol — a symbol Republicans and Democrats alike are beginning to use more and more,” the article stated.

“Since June 2022, progressive activists have begun flying their flags upside down, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade,” the article noted. “Months later — amid fury over the FBI’s search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Aug. 8, 2022 — it became a symbol used by the former president’s most loyal allies.”

There may be Timesian hand-wringing over the latter, of course, but not the former — another signal that, if it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.

In fact, if those flying the flag upside-down were merely supporting the causes the Times usually does, nobody would be giving them lectures on flag code or seeing whether their husbands had high-profile positions in the world of governance or corporate America.

That’s the real point here.

The rest, as Dan McLaughlin noted in a piece at conservative outlet National Review, is much ado about nothing.

In the reaction piece, published the day after the Times launched its unlikely crusade against flying upside-down American flags, McLaughlin wrote that conservatives “can freely acknowledge that this response to profane provocation and personal invective is disrespectful to the flag and a display of injudicious temperament on the part of Mrs. Alito, but then, Mrs. Alito is not a judge or the holder of any political office whatsoever.”

Alas, if the invective aimed at Clarence Thomas is any indication, this isn’t going to stop anything anytime soon.

The witch hunt lives on, in search of a witch leftists can finally burn to somehow nullify the conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

We can at least take solace in the knowledge that, if this moves the needle on Alito as scantly as it did with Thomas, it’s a big fat waste of time.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

 

Thanks for sharing!