Tuesday, May 21, 2024


The husband-wife (or, rather, wife-husband) duo of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Martha-Ann Alito nee Bomgardner flew an upside down flag outside their house for a few days shortly after 1/6/2-21. They did so even while the US Supreme Court was considering an election case from Pennsylvania. Really. Cautiously

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long called for a congressionally enforced code of conduct for the Court, released a statement Friday night calling on Alito to recuse himself from cases relating to Jan. 6 and the 2020 election, reiterating a previous admonishment that “the Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making.”

“Flying an upside-down American flag — a symbol of the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement — clearly creates the appearance of bias,” Durbin wrote. “Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering.”

Of course, the chairperson called on Alito to recuse himself, a safe proposal because there is less than a 1% chance that he will. And Durbin won't make a fuss over it. We already knew the Associate Justice is corrupt because

Following reports that Justice Samuel Alito failed to disclose a luxury Alaska fishing trip gifted by right-wing billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US shows Singer holds at least $90 million in financial companies overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the agency faces an existential threat in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Accountable.US called the undisclosed gifts between Singer and Alito – including private jet travel valued at over $100,000 each way – grounds for Alito’s recusal in CFPB v. the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) especially as Singer’s investment management firm has called for the end of the CFPB’s independence, the central issue before the court. Should Alito choose to preside over this case despite his billionaire benefactor’s direct financial stake in the outcome, it would only fuel an already raging Supreme Court corruption crisis.

A corrupt Judge does not resign, recuse, or apologize. He whines and blames someone else. For Alito, it was "I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs."

Chris Lehmann in The Nation makes a couple of excellent points pertaining to the motivation of the couple, although they cannot be simultaneously valid. Arguing that the decision to fly the flag upside down may have been made by the Justice himself, he explains

It is, first of all, beyond parody for the justice who authored the egregious majority opinion hijacking the bodily autonomy of American women in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to profess that his life partner has uncontested domestic sovereignty in the adoption of exterior political messaging.

Though that is a legitimate perspective, Lehmann more boldly writes

the argument that it was an entirely unilateral work of Martha-Ann’s falls apart on its face; any adult sharing close living quarters with a militant flag-brandishing partner would then put some variation of the question Just what the hell are you up to, sweetheart? to said partner, and the ensuing exchange would result in either spirited dissent and flag removal or (the clear outcome here) harmonious consent and mutual self-satisfaction.

Former law clerk Martha-Ann Bomgardner was described by The New York Times in 2006 as

an extremely intelligent and well-read woman who orders restaurant meals in fluent French and recently took a philosophy class for intellectual stimulation.

"She's like a renaissance person," Susan Engelman Volkert, an employment lawyer who, along with her husband, Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. of Superior Court in Essex County, N.J., has been friends with the Alitos for two decades. "She knows a little about music, a little about art. She's very active in sports and has been active in the community.

Sixteen years later, the U.S. Sun wrote "she revealed in an interview with The Washington Post that her husband likes Beethoven and Springsteen, but she forces him to listen to Scarlatti and Bach."

Without question, she forces him to listen to Scarlatti and Bach- and has the final word on whether the couple displays an American flag to demonstrate support for a political movement. The action violates Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for Justices but "happy wife, happy life" trumps "happy conduct, happy life." 

This is even more clear-cut than Lehmann suggests because it is not a case of a husband a wife working in the same field, company, job. Mrs. Alito evidently is, in the parlance of the last century, a homemaker. It would be the same if she were a  store clerk, store manager, warehouse worker, librarian, teacher, self-employed consultant, engineer, doctor, even a lawyer: everything, in fact, other than a President of the country. Her preferences must give way to the requirements of his job. There are only eight (8) others in his position.

Samuel Alito is a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. There are only nine (9) in the country. He is nearly at the top of both the legal and governmental professions, with only the President and Chief Justice more consequential.  When it comes to the appearance and reality of impropriety in his work, something must give. With the Dobbs abortion decision, Justice Alito told women where to go. As a real Republican, back home in Alexandria, he does what he's told. 


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