Roberts Rejects Senators' Request to Meet About Alito

Democratic lawmakers want the associate justice to recuse himself from Trump cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2024 1:23 PM CDT
Roberts Rejects Senators' Request to Meet Over Alito
Chief Justice John Roberts.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday declined an invitation to meet with Democratic senators to talk about Supreme Court ethics and the controversy over flags that flew outside homes owned by Justice Samuel Alito. Roberts' response came in a letter to the senators a day after Alito separately wrote them and House members to reject their demands that he recuse from Supreme Court cases involving former President Trump and the Jan. 6 rioters because of the flags, which are like those carried by rioters during the 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary panel, wrote Roberts a week ago to ask for the meeting and also that Roberts take steps to ensure that Alito recuses himself from any related cases. "I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting," Roberts wrote, noting that justices decide for themselves when to step aside from cases, per the AP.

"Moreover, the format proposed—a meeting with leaders only of one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the court—simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable," he wrote. In his own letter to lawmakers, Alito said he concluded that nothing about the flags, both of which he said were flown by his wife outside their homes in Virginia and New Jersey, required his recusal. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

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