Cry More: MSNBC Lights Itself on Fire over Alito Flags, Recusal Refusal

News & Politics

It didn’t take long for Justice Samuel Alito’s refusal to recuse himself from January 6th-related cases to incur the wrath of MSNBC’s Joy Reid. On Wednesday night’s episode of The ReidOut, she and legal analyst Melissa Murray vented their indignation over Alito’s alleged mockery of the American public through his decision.

Reid began by citing sections from Alito’s letters before inviting Murray, who immediately bellyached about them as egregious signs of disrespect to Americans he robbed of the “Constitutional” right to end the lives of unborn children: 

It is a giant double-fingered F-you to the American public. This man is not simply saying he is not fond of flying flags but his wife is, he’s basically trolling Americans who know that he is the author of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the decision that withdrew the Constitutional right to an abortion that Roe v. Wade established. He wrote that decision. And he says not once, not twice, but three times, here first to his wife as a private citizen is in possession of rights: rights that allow her to quote, unquote ‘Make decisions that he has always honored and respects her choices to do so.’ Again, this is the same man who withdrew from millions of American women the right to make decisions about their own body. This is a trolling, trolling letter. A giant F-you to the American public. 

Later in the segment, Reid referred to the Washington Post’s decision to not report on the flag incident which occurred in 2021, labeling it a “mini-scandal.” In fact, the Post simply had the discernment to deem the story not newsworthy, understanding that it stemmed from a squabble with liberal neighbors, looking to uncover dirt on a conservative justice.

The two continued to caricature Alito and “these conservative justices” as completely unable to “control their own wives.” Reid and Murray reasoned that justices like Alito and Clarence Thomas compensated for lack of authority in their marriages by enacting policies that control all other women. As Reid so eloquently summarized it, “It is remarkable that what they’re saying is, they want every woman to be under 19th century-style control of the state but in their house, those women are in charge.”

Murray riffed on Reid’s outrageous statement with her own, asserting that “These women are in charge, and they’re proto feminists. I mean, like he respects his wife’s right,” referring to Martha-Ann Alito. 

Reid snidely bounced back with “What if she got pregnant? I mean she’s 70…” To her hilarity, Murray added “He’s pro-choice, but for flags, not other choices.”

Sufficiently amused by their not-so clever gibes, Murray concluded, “I mean, it truly does boggle the mind that we are at the point now where we can genuinely say that Clarence Thomas walked, so Sam Alito could run,” with Reid’s chuckling affirmation, “Indeed.”

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s The ReidOut

5/29/2024

07:46:06

JOY REID: And today, in two new letters to members of Congress, he rejected calls to recuse himself on both January 6th cases, while blaming mean old Martha-Ann. In typically defiant and indignant tones, he writes, “My wife is a private citizen, and she possesses the same First Amendment rights as every other American. She makes her own decisions, and I have always respected her right to do so. I am confident that a reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that the facts recounted above do not meet the applicable standard for recusal.” 

As for the Appeal to Heaven flag outside their New Jersey home that flag, repurposed as a symbol of support for Donald Trump, was flown during the January 6th insurrection. That flag? Alito shoves Martha-Ann under the bus again saying that the vacation house is in her name and adding, “My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not.” 

Joining me now with thoughts is Melissa Murray, NYU law professor and MSNBC legal analyst. Thoughts, my friend?

MELISSA MURRAY: Okay, there’s a lot here. Let me go through it. First of all, this letter is nominally addressed to Congress. It is a giant double-fingered F-you to the American public. This man is not simply saying he is not fond of flying flags but his wife is, he’s basically trolling Americans who know that he is the author of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the decision that withdrew the Constitutional right to an abortion that Roe v. Wade established. He wrote that decision. And he says not once, not twice, but three times, here first to his wife as a private citizen is in possession of rights: rights that allow her to quote, unquote “Make decisions that he has always honored and respects her choices to do so.” Again, this is the same man who withdrew from millions of American women the right to make decisions about their own body. This is a trolling, trolling letter. A giant F-you to the American public. 

He does not dispute the fact that the flags flew upside down at their home in Fairfax County, nor does he dispute that the flag, the Appeal to Heaven flag, was flying at their vacation home in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Instead, he just says, “she did it!

REID: It’s her problem.

MURRAY: And I can’t control her.” That’s the best part of this. 

What is going on among these conservative justices where they cannot seem to control their own wives. Clarence can’t stop Ginni Thomas from texting Mark Meadows in the middle of an insurrection. Justice Alito can’t seem to stop Martha-Ann from flying the American flag upside down at their home. But nonetheless, they have decided that they are going to write opinions that seek to control every other American woman. Like, what is going on here?

REID: And they’re going to now essentially say they get to decide whether you can have mifepristone. They get to decide that. 

MURRAY: Yup.

REID: And I would not put it past him to write that decision. It is remarkable that what they’re saying is, they want every woman to be under 19th century-style control of the state–

MURRAY: Except these ladies.

REID: But in their house, those women are in charge.

MURRAY: These women are in charge, and they’re proto-feminists. 

REID: Yeah.

MURRAY: I mean, like he respects his wife’s right. The funny–

REID: What if she got pregnant?

MURRAY: He respects her choice–

REID: I mean she’s 70.

MURRAY: He’s pro-choice, but for flags, not other choices. 

REID: (Laughs)

MURRAY: I mean, it truly does boggle the mind that we are at the point now where we can genuinely say that Clarence Thomas walked, so Sam Alito could run.

REID: (Laughs). Indeed.

(…)

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