Danger Things

“Imagine a world exactly like our own, but distorted by time and space. You can still access familiar places, but they’re askew, empty; they lack the principle of formality, and appear as mere simulations … another dimension that is presented to us as a membrane-dripping, shadowy version of the world we know and inhabit.” That’s how Thrillist describes the Upside Down in Stanger Things. If you consume enough news, it’s hard not to feel like America has been sucked into the Upside Down; something is off, the normal rules don’t apply, institutions can’t be trusted. If Mar-a-Lago is the Upside Down’s vacation spot, then Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s abode in Alexandria is America’s home sweet home. Jodi Kantor in the NYT (Gift Article): At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display. “After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag. One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors. The upside-down flag was aloft on Jan. 17, 2021, the images showed. President Donald J. Trump’s supporters, including some brandishing the same symbol, had rioted at the Capitol a little over a week before. Mr. Biden’s inauguration was three days away.” Consider that the same Justice who flew this inverted flag (he blamed it on his wife) is currently sitting in judgement on a presidential immunity case that is delaying the trial of the guy who actually tried to steal an election. It would be better if this shocked us. Sadly, it confirms our worst concerns and we’re all quite certain Alito (like Thomas, whose wife was a big stop the steal player) won’t recuse himself from any related cases. Back in the rightside up world, a Justice might even resign over something like this. But we know that won’t happen. We’ve come to expect that no one ever gets held to account. Maybe we’re getting too used to living in the Upside Down.

+ Sen. Dick Durbin, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged Alito to step off Trump election case over U.S. flag controversy. “Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering … The Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making, and Justice Alito and the rest of the Court should be doing everything in their power to regain public trust.” Public trust is a value we left in the other dimension.

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