(Bloomberg) -- Chief Justice John Roberts rejected a request to meet with Democratic senators to discuss the US Supreme Court’s ethics controversies, including recent revelations that flags associated with right-wing causes flew at Justice Samuel Alito’s houses.

In his letter Thursday to Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Roberts also refused to second-guess Alito’s decision to keep participating in pending cases involving Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

“Members of the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the practice we have followed for 235 years pursuant to which individual justices decide recusal issues,” Roberts wrote.

Echoing comments he made last year when he refused to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts cited separation of powers and judicial independence in turning down the request for a meeting.

“Apart from ceremonial events, only on rare occasions in our nation’s history has a sitting chief justice met with legislators, even in a public setting (such as a committee hearing) with members of both parties present,” Roberts wrote.

Alito on Wednesday told lawmakers that his wife was responsible for flying an upside-down American flag at their Virginia home and more recently an “Appeal to Heaven” flag at their beach residence in New Jersey. Similar flags were carried by Jan. 6 rioters.

“My wife is an independently minded private citizen,” he wrote. “She makes her own decisions, and I honor her right to do so.”

The court is set to decide by the end of June whether Trump is immune from criminal charges that he illegally tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The justices are also weighing an appeal by a man charged with being part of the Capitol assault in a case that could have implications for the Trump prosecution.

(Updates with excerpts from letter starting in third paragraph.)

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