In June of 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had given every U.S. citizen the right to an abortion. While this became dramatic national news, the Court had previously hinted at this decision in a different case through the Court’s “shadow docket” — the use of “emergency orders” by the Court without oral argument.
In the past, the shadow docket was about procedural matters that didn’t need explanations. But since 2017, the Court has dramatically expanded its use of its shadow docket, regularly making decisions that affect millions of Americans without public hearings and without explanation, through late-night rulings that leave lawyers — anlawd citizens — scrambling.
Supreme Court expert Stephen Vladeck believes that the expanding use of the shadow docket is directly affecting Americans more and more. The Court’s conservative majority has used the shadow docket to influence laws on voting, immigration, executions, and COVID vaccine mandates. Vladeck, who has studied the shadow docket for over ten years and has given testimony about it to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, argues that Americans of all political stripes should be worried about what this means for the rule of law.
Vladeck joins us at Town Hall to discuss his latest book, The Shadow Docket, and share an urgent call to hold the Supreme Court and its inner workings accountable.
Stephen Vladeck holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate. He has argued before the Supreme Court and has been CNN’s Supreme Court Analyst since 2013. Vladeck lives in Austin, Texas.
Professor Lisa Manheim writes in the areas of constitutional law, election law, and presidential powers. Her scholarship has been published in the University of Chicago Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and other leading academic journals. She is a five-time recipient of the Philip A. Trautman Professor of the Year Award given by the student body.
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