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Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:01 PM

Just read a Reuters article that has me incredibly upset: Supreme Court Shadow Docket


I did not know about any of this. In the middle of the night, the VERY ACTIVIST, VERY RIGHT WING Supreme Court is making rulings in secret, for all practical purposes.

According to the article, during the 16 years of the GW Bush and Obama administrations, there were only 8 shadow docket requests, 4 of which were granted/approved. During the 4 years of the trump administration, there were 41 cases...28 of which were approved. And they're planning to undo many of Biden's policies.

The 'shadow docket': How the U.S. Supreme Court quietly dispatches key rulings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the months before former President Donald Trump left office in January, the U.S. Supreme Court briskly paved the way for the lethal injection of 13 federal inmates, the first federal executions in 17 years.

In many of those cases, the court summarily overturned lower court rulings using an obscure legal procedure known as the “shadow docket.” But the short-circuit approach, intended only for emergencies, isn’t reserved for death penalty cases. It has, in the last four years, significantly changed the way the high court does business.

Increasingly, the court relies on the shadow docket to make decisions in a wide range of consequential cases, often in a dramatically accelerated fashion and without providing signed opinions or detailed explanations. Sometimes, as in death penalty cases, the decisions are irreversible.

snip

The public generally sees the court as sorting out matters of national importance through extensive briefing, oral arguments and lengthy rulings that explain the law. But the number of substantive shadow docket decisions rose dramatically during the Trump administration. In those four years, the government filed shadow docket applications at 20 times the rate of each of the two previous eight-year administrations. The high court granted the government’s requests in a majority of cases.



https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-shadow-insight-idCAKBN2BF14U

24 replies, 2602 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Just read a Reuters article that has me incredibly upset: Supreme Court Shadow Docket (Original post)
BComplex Mar 24 OP
brush Mar 24 #1
BComplex Mar 24 #2
RANDYWILDMAN Mar 24 #3
BComplex Mar 24 #4
FM123 Mar 24 #5
BComplex Mar 24 #6
farmbo Mar 24 #7
SharonClark Mar 24 #8
BComplex Mar 24 #10
Hermit-The-Prog Mar 24 #9
barbtries Mar 24 #11
BComplex Mar 24 #12
barbtries Mar 24 #14
ancianita Mar 24 #13
BComplex Mar 24 #19
ancianita Mar 24 #21
ancianita Mar 24 #15
FBaggins Mar 24 #16
ancianita Mar 24 #18
BComplex Mar 24 #20
FBaggins Mar 24 #23
CaptainTruth Mar 24 #17
blm Mar 24 #22
FakeNoose Mar 24 #24

Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:06 PM

1. God! There is so much underhanded crap going on.

Republicans just can not be trusted. They are just evil.

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Response to brush (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:11 PM

2. This scares the snot out of me. It's so far out in left field. Rachel Maddow needs to look

into this. She and Chris Hayes would do a great job on dissecting what the supremes are up to in the Roberts court.

Biden really needs to install some new supreme court justices. Like about 8 or 9 of them!

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:16 PM

3. Wow , thanks for sharing

dark stuff here.

We don't have the most sane crew sitting in those seats these days either

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Response to RANDYWILDMAN (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:18 PM

4. True that! It is very dark stuff, and it has far reaching implications.

The Supreme Court seems to be weaponizing the court's reach.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:23 PM

5. Beyond frightening!

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Response to FM123 (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 01:26 PM

6. Thanks, FM123! I forgot to post the link! Just added it to OP.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 02:57 PM

7. Congress can fix this...

From Article III:

In all the other Cases (other than Original Jurisdiction cases like State vs State, or cases involving ambassadors)
before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:00 PM

8. This is all new to me and frightening.

Thanks for sharing.

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Response to SharonClark (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:36 PM

10. It took me a good hour after I read it to wrap my mind around it. This is nasty stuff.

The implications and possibilities are far reaching, and terrifying to me. The republicans have really put our country in serious danger of becoming fascist. All of their power went to their heads, and they're confident in all that power because they're supported by the electoral college and the vast donations of the corporate elite.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:10 PM

9. Time to uncorrupt this Supremely Corrupted Reich Of The U.S. Time for 15 Justices.

Change the SCROTUS back to a SCOTUS that is not extremist.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:38 PM

11. time to pack the Court. nt

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Response to barbtries (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:43 PM

12. Looks like it's past time, doesn't it?

This is crazy stuff.

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Response to BComplex (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:57 PM

14. you're right.

I hope someone's on it already FFS.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:47 PM

13. Here's more about it from the American Bar Association Journal.

https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/scotus-shadow-docket-draws-increasing-scrutiny


“Narratives about the Supreme Court and its regular docket are increasingly incomplete,” says Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who has also written about the shadow docket.

This specialized docket has become increasingly important in three ways, Vladeck says.
First, there are many more significant rulings coming out of the shadow docket than in even the recent past, he says.

“Some of that is by fortuity and some by design,” he says.

Second, the federal government has been especially aggressive in taking advantage of the shadow docket, often bypassing federal appeals courts to ask the high court to block or undo federal district court actions, Vladeck says.

And third, the court’s conservative and liberal blocs have split sharply, and sometimes bitterly, in this specialized area, he says. The court had decided 11 shadow docket matters by a 5-4 vote this term as of Aug. 11, almost equaling the dozen 5-4 decisions among the 53 decisions stemming from argued cases this term. (The counter is still running on the shadow docket because the 2019-20 term runs until the new term begins in October.)

“The shadow docket looks to be a heck of a lot more polarized than the more visible work of the court,” Vladeck says.

Hot-button categories

Whether they were decided 5-4 or by some other lineup, shadow docket actions this term mostly fell into three prominent categories.

COVID-19: The court in May denied a request from a California church for relief from the California governor’s orders limiting attendance at places of worship because of the coronavirus pandemic. And in July, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined with the court’s liberal bloc to turn away a Nevada church’s similar request for relief from state attendance limits. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in a dissent in the Nevada case, said the court was joining with the state in discriminating in favor of the powerful gaming industry.

“The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion,” Alito wrote in Cavalry Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak. “It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any other game of chance.”

Election issues: Several emergency applications this term have involved election matters, with a subset of those stemming from COVID-19 concerns. The court sided with state officials on several issues, such as blocking pandemic-motivated lower court orders that had expanded procedures for gathering signatures for ballot initiatives in Idaho and Oregon while allowing Rhode Island to suspend its requirement that absentee ballots have in-person witness verification.

In April, the court stayed a lower court injunction that would have required Wisconsin to count absentee ballots postmarked after the state’s primary election date. The majority in an unsigned opinion said it was not expressing an opinion on the broader question of whether election procedures should be altered in light of COVID-19. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing in dissent for the court’s liberal bloc, said the majority’s “suggestion that the current situation is not ‘substantially different’ from ‘an ordinary election’ boggles the mind.”


Trump administration policies: Two rulings granted the Trump administration’s requests to lift injunctions blocking new rules that tightened the admissibility of immigrants who might become a “public charge,” or dependent on welfare or other public benefits. Another ruling turned away a request from opponents of the president’s border wall to order a temporary stop to construction. And the court granted the administration’s requests to remove lower-court stays blocking the first three federal executions in a generation.

In February, in one of the cases about the public charge rule, Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed frustration, as she had in the previous term, about the Trump administration’s shadow docket tactics.



Account for yourself, John the pirate Roberts!

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Response to ancianita (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 05:51 PM

19. Thanks for this info. That's really scary, ancianity. This has been going on even worse than

I imagined.

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Response to BComplex (Reply #19)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 06:38 PM

21. Which creates a number of reasons why it can't just "not be used" by Biden. This requires

congressional attention, since Congress can decide how the court system is to be configured, and along with that, whether it should set limitations on any shadow docket use by the executive branch.

from Cornell Law

Congress may through the exercise of its powers vitiate and overturn constitutional decisions and restrain the exercise of constitutional rights is an assertion often made but not sustained by any decision of the Court.

The Ju- diciary Act of 1789 contained numerous provisions relating to the times and places for holding court, even of the Supreme Court, to times of adjournment, appointment of officers, issuance of writs, citations for contempt, and many other matters which it might be supposed courts had some authority of their own to regulate.1248 The power to enjoin governmental and private action has frequently been curbed by Congress, especially as the action has involved the power of taxation at either the federal or state level.1249 Though the courts have variously interpreted these restrictions,1250 they have not denied the power to impose them.

Reacting to judicial abuse of injunctions in labor disputes,1251 Congress in 1932 enacted the Norris-La Guardia Act which forbade the issuance of injunctions in labor disputes except through compliance with a lengthy hearing and fact-finding process which required the district judge to determine that only through the injunctive process could irremediable harm through illegal conduct be prevented.1252 The Court seemed to experience no difficulty in upholding the Act,1253 and it has liberally applied it through the years.1254

Congress’s power to confer, withhold, and restrict jurisdiction is clearly revealed in the Emergency Price Control Act of 19421255 and in the cases arising from it. Fearful that the price control program might be nullified by injunctions, Congress provided for a special court in which persons could challenge the validity of price regulations issued by the government with appeal from the Emergency Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. The basic constitutionality of the Act was sustained in Lockerty v. Phillips.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/article-3/section-2/clause-2/power-of-congress-to-control-the-federal-courts

A shadow docket might not apply in this case, but if justices are complaining about its use, the court can't be expected to "fix" itself, and Congress might examine how reconfiguring the system might alleviate the needs for "expeditious" rulings (which seem to be driven by politics, anyway) so that DUE process is honored without exception at the SCOTUS level. And not secret.


Also, this shadow docket should not have existed except by Congressional decision. It doesn't look as if Congress had much say in its use. And Sotomayor has made objection.

“Stay applications force the court to consider important statutory and constitutional questions that have not been ventilated fully in the lower courts, on abbreviated timetables and without oral argument,” she wrote. “They upend the normal appellate process, putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won a stay.”

And “perhaps most troublingly, the court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others,” Sotomayor said, referring to the federal government.

Danger of ‘irreparable harm’

“Sotomayor has been sounding the alarm” about the administration’s approach, says Vladeck.

Since Trump took office, the Supreme Court had granted 22 stay requests as of mid-August, in whole or in part, from the federal government. In the 16 combined years of the President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama administrations, the court granted only four such emergency requests from the federal government.


So, you're right to be upset and to bring it up as a big deal issue, imo.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 03:59 PM

15. SCOTUS has just handed Democrats' their biggest BFD justification for court reform.



Maybe we should be glad to find this out rather than upset?

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Response to ancianita (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 04:06 PM

16. Don't be silly

If this is the largest justification for court reform... there isn't much justification.

This is easy enough to deal with.

The bulk of the recent "shadow docket" concerns were over the volume of requests from the prior administration (whether for a quick review of some lower court telling Trump that he couldn't do something or to expedite death penalty cases).

So all Biden has to do is not make such requests.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 04:23 PM

18. Okay, I won't. But if it's been used for decades, it's a problem of process.

"All Biden has to do is not make such requests" makes it sound as it it was driven just by Trump.

But according to the ABA's quotes from law schools, it existed before Trump. So I thought it was established in the past by SCOTUS choice.

Quick reviews and the expediting of other rulings doesn't sound like sound jurisprudence.

Saying "the biggest BFD justification" doesn't mean I'm claiming it's the only one, when before this news, we've discussed in DU that there are other justifications.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 05:53 PM

20. It's not just Biden that gets to make requests, Frodo. It's atty. generals, governors, etc.,

according to the article.

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Response to BComplex (Reply #20)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 07:31 PM

23. So?

The problem with the so-called "shadow docket" isn't that it exists (it has for quite some time)... it's that an exponentially growing number of decisions have been coming through that channel... particularly those that the prior administration asked for in skipping lower court review.

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 04:10 PM

17. The House Judiciary subcommittee had a hearing on this in Feb.

I know, it's impossible to keep up with everything that's going on!

Edit to add date of article, Courthouse News, February 18, 2021

Members of a House Judiciary subcommittee heard from a number of witnesses Thursday about the sweeping impact of unassigned decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, often handed out with no explanations.

The court’s “shadow docket” — a descriptor given to unassigned rulings and orders taken by justices on emergency petitions that one lawmaker called “unnecessarily pejorative” during Thursday’s hearing — has recently been used with a higher rate of frequency.

The court used the docket to deny women mifepristone and misoprostol — drugs that induce early miscarriages in expectant mothers — by mail after the emergency petition sat for months. The court has used the shadow docket to change state-set Covid-19 restrictions for gatherings of religious groups and execute death row inmates without explanation.

According to Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat who leads the subcommittee of courts, intellectual property and the internet, the expansive use of this tool of anonymity was in part a reaction to increased requests for expedited relief from the federal government.

“Under the Trump administration, the Solicitor General sought five times the number of such emergency or extra-ordinary petitions than the George W. Bush and the Obama administrations combined,” Johnson said.

University of Texas School of Law Professor Stephen Vladeck testified Thursday that although the court’s docket for ruling on expedited petitions has always existed, its prominence has only grown because of the court’s aggressive action on those submissions.

While the Trump administration helped some of the uptick in the high court’s use of the shadow docket, he noted that its rulings have broader implications and are being used to change the status quo more frequently.

For example, during Justice Anthony Kennedy’s last term in October 2017, there were only two shadow docket rulings revoking four public dissents, Vladeck said. Over the next two terms there were 20.

More at link

[link:https://www.courthousenews.com/house-examines-supreme-court-shadow-docket/|]

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 07:15 PM

22. Kicking

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Response to BComplex (Original post)

Wed Mar 24, 2021, 07:40 PM

24. K & R bookmarked

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