Upside-down flag flew outside Justice Alito's home after Trump's 'Stop the Steal' rally: Report

FILE-Associate Justice Samuel Alito sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

An upside-down American flag was displayed outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in January 2021, the New York Times reported. 

The flag is a symbol connected to former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

The New York Times obtained and published a photo of the upside-down American flag flying on Jan. 17, 2021, days after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Dozens of rioters were holding inverted flags and chanting slogans like "Stop the Steal."

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According to the Associated Press, the New York Times report may cause concerns about Alito’s objectivity as the Supreme Court considers two major cases related to the Capitol riot, including charges faced by the rioters and whether Trump has immunity from prosecution on election interference charges.

At the time the flag was flying, the Supreme Court was still considering whether to take up cases over the 2020 presidential election. 

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The SCOTUS rejected the cases because of dissent from three conservative justices, including Alito, who wrote that the court’s consideration of the cases would have no impact on the 2020 election but "would provide invaluable guidance for future elections," the AP noted. 

Alito acknowledged the flag at his residence in Alexandria, Virginia, but said it was placed there by his wife.

The AP cited an emailed statement from Alito to the New York Times where he said, "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," Alito concluded. 

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According to the New York Times, Martha-Ann Alito was in a conflict with another family in the neighborhood over an anti-Trump sign on their lawn, and neighbors interpreted the upside-down American flag as a political statement.

The U.S. Flag Code states that the American flag is not to be flown upside down "except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property," the AP noted. 

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The upside-down American flag is symbolic of Trump's "Stop the Steal" campaign as he circulated false claims the election was stolen when he lost to Joe Biden in 2020. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.