Democratic senators are demanding a meeting with Roberts over flags at Alito’s homes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Democratic senators have requested a meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts. Two separate flags On January 6, 2021, during the attack on the Capitol, rioters flew out of homes owned by Justice Samuel Alito.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. And a member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DRI. They asked Roberts for a meeting Thursday to discuss Supreme Court ethics and take steps to ensure it. Alito recuses himself Any cases before the court The January 6 attack or former President Donald Trump’s attempts to reverse his 2020 election loss.

“We request a meeting with you as Chief Justice and the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States as soon as possible to discuss further steps to address the Supreme Court’s ethics crisis,” Durbin and Whitehouse wrote to Roberts. In a letter issued by both offices on Friday.

The senators’ letter comes as another conservative judge, Clarence Thomas, has ignored calls to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election. Supported by his wife Ginny Thomas For Trump and Public confidence in the Supreme Court It is at its lowest point in at least 50 years.

The court did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.

The court is considering two key cases related to the Capitol attack, including whether Trump is immune from prosecution on charges of rioting and election interference. Alito participates in both events Rejected calls To push back on other issues from Democrats in the past.

The New York Times reported last week that the American flag had been turned upside down i saw At Alito’s home outside Washington less than two weeks after the attack on the Capitol. This week’s magazine is a ” Appeal to heaven ” The flag was flown outside Justice’s beach house in New Jersey last summer. Both flags were carried by rioters who violently stormed the Capitol in January 2021 to echo Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

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Alito has said that his wife flew an upside-down American flag during a dispute with neighbors, and that he had no part in it. He and the court declined to respond to requests for comment on how the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was flown and what it was intended to convey.

Codes of judicial ethics focus on the need for judges to be independent, avoiding political statements or opinions on matters they are called upon to decide. The Supreme Court is no longer itself Traditional normsBut it faced continued criticism and adopted one in November 2023 Undisclosed trips and gifts from wealthy benefactors For some judges.

The Code does not contain mechanisms for enforcement, however, by the Judiciary Committee recognized law Last year it set strict standards. But Republicans fiercely resisted any attempt to do what the court would do.

Durbin and Whitehouse said they would continue to pressure the court. But the request for a meeting is a new approach for Roberts He refused to testify In a hearing on Supreme Court ethics last year.

“Until the Court and the Judicial Conference take meaningful action to resolve this ongoing ethical crisis, we will continue our efforts to enact legislation to resolve this crisis,” they wrote.

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Associated Press writers Mark Sherman and Lindsey Whitehurst contributed to this report.

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