Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito pushed back forcefully at critics decrying the recent “shadow docket” decisions of the highest court in the land.
Alito made the comments during a lecture on the “emergency docket” at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday.
Critics cite three controversial cases where the Supreme Court made emergency rulings with many of the liberal justices on the court issuing vitriolic statements of dissent.
“Our decisions in these three emergency matters have been criticized by those who think we should have decided them the other way, and I have no trouble with fair criticism of the substance of those decisions,” Alito said.
“My complaint concerns all the media and political talk about our sinister shadow docket,” he continued. “The truth of the matter is that there was nothing new or shadowy about the procedures we followed in those cases — it’s hard to see how we could handle most emergency matters any differently.”
Among those decisions were the ban on abortion in Texas, a decision allowing Trump-era immigration restrictions to continue, and the end of the eviction moratorium.
Alito pointed out that those cases came before the court as emergency motions.
“The Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have a lot of power, but here’s the power they do not have: They do not have the power to make the world stand still while litigation takes place,” Alito said.
He argued that the unreasonable criticism made it appear as if “a dangerous cabal is deciding important issues in a novel, secretive, improper way in the middle of the night, hidden from public view, without waiting for the lower courts to consider the issues.”
Alito went through numerous arguments against the court and dismantled each one, adding that the strategy was being used in an attempt to influence the court.
“This portrayal feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution,” he argued.
Here’s a video of the criticism against the “shadow docket”:
Democrats criticize Supreme Court for using ‘shadow docket’ on Texas’ new abortion law