June 23, 2024

Samuel Alito's 2-day absence from Supreme Court spurs questions

All eyes have been on the U.S. Supreme Court this month, with the nation awaiting rulings in a number of key decisions, but the status of one of the nine justices on the bench has prompted speculation in recent days.

According to CNN Justice Samuel Alito, 74, one of the panel's most conservative voices, was absent from the court's proceedings on both Thursday and Friday, with no explanation offered.

Alito's absence questioned

As People noted, Alito was gone on days in which his colleagues released a number of highly anticipated decisions.

One of those rulings was considered a pivotal Second Amendment decision, though the court has yet to weigh in on a number of other hotly contested matters, including Donald Trump's claim of presidential immunity.

With his two absences this week, Alito has been missing from the release of nine rulings in total, and it remains unclear what has prompted his departure from the bench.

More than 12 cases remain outstanding in the court's current term, which is slated to end within the next week.

Should rulings go unreleased this week, the court will be forced to lengthen its term into the month of July in order to complete its disposition of the caseload.

Recusal calls rebuffed

Alito has been in the center of a recent firestorm following reporting from the New York Times about flags flown by his wife on the pair's residential properties.

According to the justice himself, it was his wife, Martha Alito, who decided to raise an upside-down American flag at their Virginia home, sparking suggestions of sympathies with Jan. 6 Capitol demonstrators.

An “Appeal to Heaven” flag, a standard with rich historical associations, was reportedly flown at the Alitos' vacation home, and it also sparked controversy on the left, given assertions from some that it was linked to so-called “Stop the Steal” supporters who disputed the outcome of the 2020 election.

Despite calls from the likes of Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) for Alito to recuse himself from participation in all Jan. 6-related cases before the court, the justice has remained firm in denying those requests.

Conservatives across the country will assuredly continue to monitor this week's news from Washington, hoping that Alito is healthy, well, and poised to appear for the release of the remaining opinions from this most pivotal term at the high court.

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