Commentary: Latest Alito Flag ‘Scandal’ Shows How the Left Thinks being an American is Un-American

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
by Jarrett Stepman


Appealing to heaven is “provocative,” says The New York Times.

The Times reported Wednesday that—gasp—Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an “Appeal to Heaven” flag last year at his vacation home in New Jersey.

“Another Provocative Flag Was Flown at Another Alito Home,” reads the Times’ headline.

The story comes on the heels of a media-concocted “scandal” revealing that Alito flew an upside-down flag outside his house for a few days in early 2021.

We are led to believe that the first incident means that Alito is a violent, insurrectionist supporter of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot or something.

Alito said that the upside-down flag stemmed from a dispute between his wife and neighbors over yard signs.

An upside-down flag is a traditional sign of national or personal distress. I can think of countless reasons to use that symbol in 2021. And ultimately, what does it matter?

If, say, Justice Sonia Sotomayor had flown one of those “In this house, we believe…” signs, do you think it ever would have been a story touted as problematic by the left-wing press? Of course not.

From the Times on Alito’s second allegedly damning flag revelation:

This time, it was the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag, which, like the inverted U.S. flag, was carried by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it dates back to the Revolutionary War, but largely fell into obscurity until recent years and is now a symbol of support for former President Donald J. Trump, for a religious strand of the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign and for a push to remake American government in Christian terms.

After reading that, the only thing that makes me disappointed is that I don’t have an “Appeal to Heaven” flag of my own.

The tenor of the Times’ piece and the reaction from the Left are both deeply cynical and revealing of how our institutional pseudo-elites think.

A little history lesson: The “Appeal to Heaven” flag is a classic flag of the American Revolution. One of George Washington’s aides designed it in 1775 to be used on ships serving the united colonies.

The “Appeal to Heaven” moniker is a reference to the right of revolution. Our Founding Fathers, in their wonderfully Anglo-American fashion, were orderly revolutionaries.

The foundation of a just legal and political order starts with a grounding in higher law, in the rights endowed by our creator, as Abraham Lincoln noted a generation later.

The argument from Washington and the Founding Fathers was that the British crown and Parliament had violated the God-given rights of the American colonists through oppressive laws foisted on them without representation.

This is History 101 stuff, I know. But among many of those who’ve matriculated from our country’s most elite institutions in recent decades, the concept of “God-given rights” seems like a wild idea concocted by troglodyte Christian nationalists or whatever bogeyman exists in their mind.

Frankly, if you have an issue with appealing to heaven, maybe the problem is with you, not the person holding the flag.

One way or another, this story is being used by some highly cynical leftist activists, political operatives, and media outlets to undermine the Supreme Court.

For a while, they were all working hard to portray Justice Clarence Thomas as a crook because he has wealthy friends and a politically active conservative wife. Thomas hasn’t budged and he’s received a great deal of support, so they’ve mostly moved on to other targets, for now.

Hence the deluge of “Alito is an insurrectionist” stories.

This is pure power politics from the Left.

Leftist activists have used the Supreme Court for generations to get their way. Now that they’ve lost control of the institution with Trump’s three appointees, they seek its immediate recapture or destruction. That’s their modus operandi.

The Alito flag story is meant to rile up the Democrat base and force Alito to recuse himself on Supreme Court decisions related to Trump.

The press never had an issue with obviously liberal justices such as the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg holding openly partisan positions and criticizing Republicans. That was just #Resistance.

Also, pay no attention to President Joe Biden’s flagrant violations of the Constitution and insults to the Supreme Court.

“When the Supreme Court told me I couldn’t, I found two other ways to do it,” Biden said of his illegal student loan bailout Sunday during a commencement address at Morehouse College.

That gets a collective media shrug.

But a Supreme Court justice flying a historic flag referencing the Founding, religion, and the ideas at the cornerstone of our national existence? Scandal!

Democrat media allies have been only too happy to do their part in weaving a narrative that Biden and his White House advisers undoubtedly want to tell. At its root, the story is that simple.

However, the nature of the story does say something more significant about the state of the elite modern Left, for which the Times is the paper of record.

First off, the Left seems not to know much about history or the basic premise of our nation. Certainly mockable, but what’s worse than ignorance is that the little leftists do know about our past they seem to deeply dislike.

Traditional symbols of American patriotism are now almost uniformly portrayed as scandalous or at least suspect unless used for distinctly left-wing causes. The mainstream Left makes little attempt to appeal to our country’s history, unlike even a decade ago when the Left at least tried to appropriate history for its own purpose.

And appeals to religion, particularly Christianity? Forget about it. Combining symbols of patriotism with an appeal to religion is a recipe to send the modern liberal into complete hysterics.

As I wrote in my book “The War on History,” the Left launched a full-scale assault on the country’s past in order to fundamentally transform America and the West. Indeed, our history has been rewritten to make 1619 rather than 1776 the nation’s “true” founding year.

After 2020, the institutional Left fully bought into that rewrite.

Americans who didn’t make this leap—whether protesters who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 or an originalist Supreme Court justice or just a regular person who wants to act in patriotic solidarity with his neighbors—are all equally on the “wrong side of history.”

They are all religious bigots, opposed to the Constitution as the Left has redefined it, and insurrectionists under the new regime.

Our most powerful institutions have decided that being an American is un-American.

Forget the dopey narratives peddled by The New York Times. Be like George Washington and appeal to heaven.

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Jarrett Stepman is a columnist for The Daily Signal. He is also the author of the book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.”




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