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Continued scrutiny of Justice Samuel Alito after 'Appeal to Heaven' flag flown outside vacation home

The flag outside the Supreme Court justice's New Jersey beach house was identified shortly after reports that an inverted U.S. flag was seen outside his other home.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Posted at 1:34 PM, May 23, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing even more scrutiny about his ability to be impartial after another controversial flag was seen flying outside one of his homes.

In an image reported on by the New York Times, a so-called "Appeal to Heaven" flag — or the Pine Tree Flag — was seen flying outside Alito's New Jersey beach home. The flag was carried by supporters of former President Donald Trump who swarmed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. It has been a symbol associated with a push to remake the U.S. government into one that more closely follows Christian principles.

The New York Times obtained photosand heard accounts from neighbors and people who passed by who said the flag was flown at the Alito home on Long Beach Island in July and September of 2023. Google Street View images also appeared to corroborate claims about the flag's existence at that location, and at that time.

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In January 2021 an inverted American flag was seen flying outside of the justice's Virginia home. Criticism from conservative lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, was widely reported, with Sen. Graham calling it "not good judgment."

The flags and how they were flown, including where, have raised doubts by many about how Justice Alito can maintain impartiality in cases associated with the Jan. 6, 2021 events in Washington. One of the cases before the high court examines if former President Trump is immune from prosecution for his alleged involvement in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.