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NYT Attacks Alito A Second Time Over Well-Known American Revolution Flag Flown At Private Residence

The Times continues to attack Alito over flags flown at his home in a blatant attempt to undermine and discredit the Supreme Court justice.


For a second time this month, The New York Times is attacking Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for a flag flown outside of one of his private residences.

In an article published Wednesday, the Times attacked Alito over the “Appeal to Heaven” flag displayed at his home, claiming the flag is a “provocative symbol” because some protesters at the Jan. 6, 2021, riot carried the same flag.

Reporters from the Times traveled to Alito’s New Jersey beach home to view the flag, which they said was not present when they arrived this week. They said the flag was raised in the summer of 2023, citing photos and interviews with neighbors, as well as a Google Street View photo from August 2023. Yet are they only now reporting on the flag’s existence, nearly a year later.

The Times conceded that the flag has roots in the Revolutionary War, yet ferociously concluded that the flag is controversial and represents loyalty to former President Trump and “a push to remake American government in Christian terms.”

In reality, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag (or “Pine Tree” flag, as it is sometimes called) is far from a symbol of clandestine radicalism. The white flag with a large green pine tree placed in the center was originally designed by George Washington’s secretary and flown by six ships Washington commissioned during the American Revolution. Besides the flag’s connection to the American Revolution, the phrase “appeal to heaven” finds its origin in the writings of 17th-century political philosopher John Locke. The meaning of the phrase is that when a person feels defenseless and hopeless on earth, it is time to “appeal to heaven,” calling on a higher power to intercede in one’s defense.

The flag has been used widely in public and even in popular culture. For example, viewers can notice the “Appeal to Heaven” flag in the hit show “Parks and Recreation” on lead character Ron Swanson’s desk. Disneyland also displays the flag in one of its theme park attractions. A user on the social media platform X even pointed out a past photo showing the flag at a Black Lives Matter protest.

It it also worth noting that Alito is not the only government official to fly the “Appeal to Heaven” flag. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has the flag placed outside of his office, one of three framing his door according to a photo obtained by The New York Times.

Nevertheless, the Times said that the “disclosure about the new flag is troubling,” asserting its own meaning and definition of the flag in an attempt to drum up an ethics violation that would in effect taint the conduct of Alito and the court in dealing with future cases regarding Jan. 6 and the upcoming election.

This is exactly what the Times tried to do with another Alito flag story just last week. Jodi Kantor, one of the reporters on the “Appeal to Heaven” flag article, wrote a separate piece that also criticized Alito over a flag on his private property. In this case, an upside-down American flag was flown outside Alito’s Virginia home in 2021. According to Alito, the upside-down flag was placed outside by his wife in response to a conflict with a neighbor over an anti-Trump sign in the neighbor’s yard.

The Federalist’s Senior Legal Correspondent Margot Cleveland correctly pointed out that the Supreme Court’s code of conduct does not apply to Alito’s wife, and her hanging the flag does not call any ethics concerns into question. “It wasn’t Justice Alito who hung the upside-down flag we are hypothesizing was instead a ‘Stop the Steal’ placard — it was Mrs. Alito,” Cleveland said. “And the Code of Conduct does not govern a spouse’s actions.”

In its articles, the Times has cited the creation of the new ethics code for the Supreme Court, which was established in November of last year. However, even if the code applied to Mrs. Alito’s hanging the U.S. flag upside-down, it was not created until two years after the incident. The “Appeal to Heaven” flag at Alito’s beach home was reportedly flown during the summer of 2023, apparently placing it out of the scope of the new ethics code as well.

But the reporters still suggest Alito should face scrutiny, and even possibly recuse himself from upcoming cases. The Times asserts that “judges are not supposed to give any impression of bias, yet the flag could be seen as telegraphing the Alitos’ views — and at a time when the justices were on the cusp of adopting a new ethics code.” The phrasing implies that if the court were not “on the cusp of adopting a new ethics code,” the consequences of the flags would not be as dire.

Prior to the publishing of the two New York Times articles, the flags had been flown at the Alito family’s homes without criticism or calls for recusal, and the articles appear to be a blatant attempt to instigate controversy about Alito as demonstrated by the fact that the Times now has an entire heading devoted to the “Alito Flag Controversies.”

Republican Sen. Mike Lee rightly derided the Times article on social media: “This is paranoid fantasy. The obsession with the Alitos and their flags is laughable nonsense.”

But Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is using the controversy as justification to call for more than just Alito’s recusal from future cases.

“Samuel Alito has identified himself with the same people who raided the Capitol on Jan. 6, and is now going to be presiding over court cases that have deep implications over the participants of that rally,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with MSNBC. “Democrats have a responsibility for defending our democracy. And in the Senate, we have gavels. There should be subpoenas going out. There should be active investigations happening.”

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