Mitch McConnell Tells Samuel Alito Critics To Pipe Down: 'Leave The Supreme Court Alone'

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WASHINGTON ― Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told critics to lay off the Supreme Court following the revelation that an upside-down flag flew at the home of Justice Samuel Alito shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The upside-down flag ― a symbol of the “Stop the Steal” movement protesting Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory ― was put up by Alito’s wife shortly after the attack on Congress as a result of a dispute with a neighbor.

“It seems to me there are nonstop attacks on the Supreme Court, week after week after week, so I’m not going to dignify that with a response,” McConnell told reporters at his weekly news conference Tuesday.

“We need to leave the Supreme Court alone, protect them from people who went into their neighborhoods and tried to do them harm, look out for the Supreme Court — that’s part of the job of the administration,” the Kentucky Republican added, referring to the 2022 protests outside Alito’s home over the court’s decision repealing abortion rights in Roe v. Wade.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, also blamed “the left” when asked about the flag controversy Tuesday, accusing them of trying to “draw into question the credibility of this court, and they’ve been doing that for a long time.”

But when asked if he would ever fly the U.S. flag upside down, something that has been widely recognized as a symbol of distress, Thune shrugged and said, “I wouldn’t.”

Other Republican senators chided Alito and said that the appearance of the upside-down flag at his home was ill-advised, regardless of whether it was put up by his wife.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it displayed “not good judgment,” while Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said it amounted to bad optics.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress have called on Alito to recuse himself from cases relating to the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, including one involving former President Donald Trump’s claim to legal immunity from an election subversion case. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee was charged by the DOJ of fraudulently seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, 45 House Democrats sent a letter to Alito urging him to withdraw from the case because it “creates, at minimum, the appearance of improper political bias” since “reasonable people will doubt that you can be impartial.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) told reporters on Tuesday he was discussing the matter of Alito with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think what he did was really the wrong thing to do, and it casts some doubt on impartiality,” Schumer said of Alito at his weekly news conference.