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America’s most powerful Newsmax grandpa

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I want to focus on this remarkable passage from Stephen Gillers’s not-skeptical-enough-to-rise-to-the-level-of-being-“credulous” defense of Sam Alito, which Paul discussed recently:

“I don’t believe Alito knew the flag was flying upside down or if he did know, I find it hard to believe that he knew the relationship to “‘Stop the Steal,’” he said in an email.

The first thing to note here is that even on its face this is essentially an institutionalist tautology: if Alito did what he obviously did it would be unethical, and it is unpossible for a Supreme Court justice to act unethically so he couldn’t have done it.

But that aside there is a mountain of evidence that Alito knew exactly what the upside down flag meant in that context, and it happens right in the open in his questions at oral argument and in his public statements. As Adam Serwer recently observed:

“Yes indeed, absolutely. What happened on January 6 was very, very serious, and I’m not equating this with that,” Alito said. This was apparently a classic Alito disclaimer—the justice frequently offers rhetorical disavowals of arguments he goes on to make. He does this almost as often as he offers Fox News hypotheticals—legal arguments based on stories that have been the subject of right-wing saturation coverage. In his exchange with Prelogar, Alito later asked whether pro-Palestinian protesters blocking traffic and preventing lawmakers from reaching a hearing would violate the law used to prosecute the January 6 defendants.

Alito’s hypotheticals are overwhelmingly the product of a brain thoroughly pickled by MAGA media sources. It is exceptionally implausible that either he or his wife didn’t understand what the upside down flag meant or that it was chosen coincidentally.

And as if to further to refute the presumption of innocence:

At 4:37 p.m. on Sunday, August 13, 2023, far-right, anti-LGBTQ influencer Chaya Raichik of Libs of TikTok posted a pre-transition photograph of transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, calling her “a dude,” on Twitter, now known as X.1 

The post came months into a manufactured, anti-transgender controversy over Mulvaney’s minor participation in a Bud Light March Madness campaign, which led to a boycott of the beer and its maker, Anheuser-Busch, more broadly. By mid-May, The Wall Street Journal reported on how the boycott was leading to a downswing in Bud Light sales and upswings in sales of both Miller Light and Coors Light, both made by Molson Coors.

[…]

Later that day, something happened more quietly as well: According to a periodic transaction report posted but now unavailable in the Federal Judicial Financial Disclosure Reports database, Justice Sam Alito sold at least some of his stock in Anheuser-Busch and bought stock in Molson Coors on Monday, August 14, 2023.

So many coincidences!

While it’s not in itself as big a deal as signaling support for sedition while hearing lawsuits brought by the candidate whose attempted autogolpe you support, this is still telling. It’s worth noting that this does not involve children or sexually explicit material — the objection being raised by Libs of Tik Tok is literally Bud Light being in any way associated with a trans person. Alito’s belief that being accused of favoring invidious discrimination against LGBT people is far worse than invidious discrimination against LGBT people itself is highly material to cases the Court will hear going forward, not least Alito’s assertions that Dobbs does not in any way threaten Lawrence or Obergefell. And the Alitos knew exactly what they were doing when they flied the flag upside down.

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