New book explores how the Supreme Court can use your 'shadow testimony' to change the law | CNN Politics (2023)

New book explores how the Supreme Court can use your 'shadow testimony' to change the law | CNN Politics (1)

The Shadow Files: How the Supreme Court Used Secret Rulings to Accumulate Power and Undermine the Republic

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Steve Vladek, a CNN Supreme Court analyst, said the court's increasing use of emergency statutes to make laws on a variety of hot-button issues has quietly given the court more authority over the years that bookposted on tuesday"Operation Shadow".

Officially called the Emergency File, it happenedcourt guards called shadow receiptsBecause unsigned and unexplained orders allow judges to protect legal analysis through sound decisions when disposing of cases, andnumber of votes.By contrast, the Supreme Court's substantive filings include a full inquiry and hearing process that culminates in a formal opinion, which judges typically issue in May and June.

The shift became evident during the Trump administration, when the Justice Department used indictments to seek relief in cases involving swaths of the country that are typically decided by judges in the normal process.

"In just four years, Trump's general counsel has petitioned the Supreme Court forty-one bailouts, twenty times more than SG (George W.) Bush and (Barack) Obama combined," Vladeck , also a University of Texas law professor, writes in "Shadow Files: How the Supreme Court Used Secret Depravity to Accumulate Power and Undermine the Republic."

Vladek wrote that the "public outreach and prominence" of the secret prosecution "reflects that the Court's power grab, for better or worse, has been immune to any legislative response."

Library of Congress notes show Supreme Court justices feuding at end of session

The conduct of Supreme Court members, both internally and externally, has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, with criticism ranging from last June's conservative majority decision toCancellation of nearly 50 years of abortion rightsDoSome judges lack transparencyaround their annual financial disclosure forms.

The court's recent tendency to use the prosecution to make very important decisions has also come under strong criticism, especially from liberal lawyers. But tensions surrounding the documents were also internal, with at least two conservative juries publicly refusing to use them.

“The way (and how often) judges use prosecution has changed dramatically since the mid-2010s, not just to manage their caseloads, but to change the law on the ground and on the books,” Vladeck said.

"From immigration to elections, from abortion to the death penalty, from religious liberty to the powers of the federal executive branch, the Supreme Court has increasingly intervened preemptively, if not prematurely, in some of our nation's most tense political disputes, with the following decisions : is invisible, unsigned, and always unexplained", we read in the book.

Vladek, who has handled multiple court cases, told CNN that the goal of the book is to "change the way we talk about courts" by showing "how problematic current court practices have become." And, if you look at the shadow, if you look at things that haven't received the same attention from the public, there's a more troubling change in the behavior of the courts.

Vladek said that while he did not file an emergency motion with the court in the case, he did file a court friend's opinion in support of the Biden administration as it seeks emergency help in new immigration policy cases.

help with cognitive biases

In the book, Vladeck explains how access to justice laws have historically been used in criminal cases in which a condemned inmate requested judicial intervention at 11 o'clock to stay the execution.

However, he argues that in other situations, often those of political tension, the increased use has made things more partisan.

“Unlike the emergency motion rulings of the Bush and Obama administrations, Trump’s orders are also increasingly divisive. Twenty-seven of the 36 decisions contained at least one public dissent; ten won 5-4 in public (perhaps Others are behind the scenes)," the book reads.

Vladek added that because President Joe Biden has reversed many of Trump's controversial policies, challenging them in the Supreme Court has become moot, meaning that "(emergency) parole orders are usually judges Sole participation in these disputes". .

CNN Illustration/Getty In the Shadows: Why the Supreme Court's lack of transparency could be costly in the long run

He argues that the judge's decision to use the prosecution in controversial cases further politicizes the court, which until recently was viewed by the public as the only nonpartisan branch of government. "The lack of substantive analysis to support most of these decisions does not dispel the impression that the Court has become increasingly biased," Vladeck wrote.

The high-profile undercover cases highlighted in the book include those involving mandates and restrictions in the Covid-19 era, some of which were dismissed by courts ruling that they violated protections for religious freedom.

Republicans also benefit greatly from receiptsAlabamaILouisianaA newly redrawn Congressional map in favor of the Republican Party for the 2022 midterm elections. In doing so, the court ignored a lower court ruling that the maps may have undermined the power of black voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The inner frustration comes out

Criticism of the shadow bill by members of the court exists on both ends of the ideological spectrum.

2021 Conservative Justice Samuel Alitorefuse to use the termAt a Notre Dame conference, he said he wanted to "dispel some shadows of imagination" and dismissed the notion that the court "acted in a misleading or dangerous manner." He said the recent criticism was intended to suggest "a dangerous cabal deciding important issues in the middle of the night in a novel, secret and inappropriate way, hidden from public view."

Liberal members of the court have also frequently complained about the secret list in recent years, including in September 2021, weeks before Alito's speech, when they angrily publicly challenged the court's refusal to demand a freeze on abortion providers in Texas. Decide. State law prohibits abortion after six weeks.

"The majority decision, emblematic of much of this Court's decision-making process, has become increasingly irrational, inconsistent and indefensible." - Judge Elena KaganWrite against.

The following month, conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett publicly agreed with the court's decision to reject the emergency motion, seemingly signaling her growing frustration with the prosecution.blockade maine ruleThis requires some healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In a brief statement, accompanied by Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she said she chose not to vote to grant such "extraordinary relief" in part because the case went to emergency court, where judges have not been fully vetted. benefit. Briefing and Oral Argument.

"In other words, Judges Barrett and Kavanaugh, whose votes are usually decisive in every widely divided shadow ruling, seem to have indicated that they will not automatically Provide emergency assistance," Vladeck wrote.

“Perhaps,” he wrote, “similarly, they feel the court has gone too far in previous cases.”

CNN reporter Ariane for Vogue contributed to this report.


What is the most important legal influence on Supreme Court decisions? ›

Faced with a court ruling that overturns one of its laws, Congress may rewrite the law or even begin a constitutional amendment process. But the most significant check on the Supreme Court is executive and legislative leverage over the implementation and enforcement of its rulings.

What are the 3 responsibilities of the Supreme Court? ›

Although the Supreme Court may hear an appeal on any question of law provided it has jurisdiction, it usually does not hold trials. Instead, the Court's task is to interpret the meaning of a law, to decide whether a law is relevant to a particular set of facts, or to rule on how a law should be applied.

Why are written opinions of the Supreme Court important? ›

These opinions are vital to protect the liberties guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the state, impartially uphold and inter- pret the law, and provide open, just, and timely reso- lution of all matters.

How does the Supreme Court decide what cases to hear? ›

Typically, the Court hears cases that have been decided in either an appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals or the highest Court in a given state (if the state court decided a Constitutional issue). The Supreme Court has its own set of rules. According to these rules, four of the nine Justices must vote to accept a case.

What are three factors that can influence Supreme Court decisions? ›

But additional legal, personal, ideological, and political influences weigh on the Supreme Court and its decision-making process. On the legal side, courts, including the Supreme Court, cannot make a ruling unless they have a case before them, and even with a case, courts must rule on its facts.

Can the president overturn a Supreme Court decision? ›

When the Supreme Court rules on a constitutional issue, that judgment is virtually final; its decisions can be altered only by the rarely used procedure of constitutional amendment or by a new ruling of the Court.

Who can overturn a Supreme Court decision? ›

Court can declare a law unconstitutional; allowing Congress to override Supreme Court decisions; imposing new judicial ethics rules for Justices; and expanding transparency through means such as allowing video recordings of Supreme Court proceedings.

What is the most important power responsibility of the Supreme Court? ›

The best-known power of the Supreme Court is judicial review, or the ability of the Court to declare a Legislative or Executive act in violation of the Constitution, is not found within the text of the Constitution itself. The Court established this doctrine in the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803).

Which two laws did the Supreme Court declare to be unconstitutional? ›

1857 Dred, Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393. Declared unconstitutional the "Missouri Compromise", Act March 6, 1820, on the ground that an act which prohibited a citizen from owning certain property in terri- tory north of a certain line and granted the right to others was not warranted 'by the Constitution.

How many Supreme Court decisions have been overturned? ›

Of the more than 25,500 decisions handed down by the Supreme Court since its creation in 1789, it has only reversed course 146 times, less than one-half of one percent.

What is the rule of 4? ›

The “rule of four” is the Supreme Court's practice of granting a petition for review only if there are at least four votes to do so. The rule is an unwritten internal one; it is not dictated by any law or the Constitution.

How can the president check the power of the Supreme Court? ›

The Executive branch has the ability to appoint Federal judges and issue pardons, which gives it influence over the actions of the Judicial branch.

What are the 3 types of cases the Supreme Court hears? ›

The United States Supreme Court is a federal court, meaning in part that it can hear cases prosecuted by the U.S. government. (The Court also decides civil cases.) The Court can also hear just about any kind of state-court case, as long as it involves federal law, including the Constitution.

How does the Supreme Court decide not to hear a case? ›

The Justices use the "Rule of Four” to decide if they will take the case. If four of the nine Justices feel the case has value, they will issue a writ of certiorari.

What happens if the Supreme Court refuses to hear a case? ›

If the Supreme Court Denies Cert, the Lower Court Ruling Will Stand. What happens if the Supreme Court decides not to hear your case? The short answer is that it means that the specific case in question is over. The trial court ruling or the last ruling from an appellate court will be allowed to stand.

What 3 Supreme Court cases do you feel are the most important? ›

Here are 3 famous Supreme Court cases that have shaped the United States.
  • Brown v. Board of Education. Brown v. Board of Education is perhaps one of the most famous cases to have gone through the US Supreme Court. ...
  • Roe v. Wade. Roe v. ...
  • Obergefell v. Hodges. In 2015, Obergefell v.
Dec 18, 2022

What are the four major steps to a Supreme Court decision? ›

Supreme Court Procedure
  • Lower Courts. Mr. ...
  • Petition for Certiorari. From the day the 2nd Circuit denies his petition for rehearing en banc, Mr. ...
  • Merits Stage. Once the court has accepted the case, the parties are required to file a new set of briefs. ...
  • Oral Argument. ...
  • Decision.

Which factor influences a judges decision the most? ›

5 To Haines, the factors most likely to influence judicial decisions are: (1) "direct influences" which include: (a) legal and political experiences; (b) political affiliations and opinions; and (c) intellectual and temperamental traits; and (2) "indirect and remote influences" which include: (a) legal and general ...

Can an executive order override the Constitution? ›

Like both legislative statutes and the regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review and may be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution.

Can Supreme Court overturn constitutional amendment? ›

The United States Supreme Court has never invalidated a constitutional amendment on the grounds that it was outside the amending power. It has, however, considered the content of an amendment as presenting a justiciable question.

How can a president overturn a law? ›

The power of the President to refuse to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevent its enactment into law is the veto. The president has ten days (excluding Sundays) to sign a bill passed by Congress.

Who has the power to change the Supreme Court? ›

Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to change the size of the Supreme Court. Congress has used that authority seven times before. To restore balance and integrity to a broken institution, Congress must expand the Supreme Court by four or more seats.

What is the 14th Amendment? ›

Passed by the Senate on June 8, 1866, and ratified two years later, on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all persons "born or naturalized in the United States," including formerly enslaved people, and provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws,” extending the provisions of ...

Who does the Supreme Court have control over? ›

The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

What powers does Section 13 give the Supreme Court? ›

The Judiciary Act (Section 13) The act to establish the judicial courts of the United States authorizes the Supreme Court "to issue writs of mandamus, in cases warranted by the principles and usages of law, to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the authority of the United States."

Can the Supreme Court be impeached? ›

The Constitution states that Justices "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour." This means that the Justices hold office as long as they choose and can only be removed from office by impeachment. Has a Justice ever been impeached? The only Justice to be impeached was Associate Justice Samuel Chase in 1805.

Does federal law supersede state Constitution? ›

Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution is commonly referred to as the Supremacy Clause. It establishes that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitutions.

What is an example of a violation of the rule of law? ›

Obvious examples are violations of criminal law, sexual misconduct with staff/attorneys/parties, joining discriminatory organizations and using the judicial position to enhance a private interest.

What is the penalty for violating the Constitution? ›

Aside from occasional public disapprobation, there is no penalty for violating the Constitution generally or the First Amendment in particular. Or to protect public safety. No, they take an office to defend the constitution.

What is a violation of the Constitutional rights? ›

Constitutional rights violations can take a variety of forms, ranging from retaliating against you for expressing your First Amendment right to free speech, to arresting you without possessing probable cause to believe you have committed a crime, or even arbitrarily depriving you of your Fourteenth Amendment right to ...

Can a federal judge overrule the Supreme Court? ›

Federal courts may overrule a state supreme court decision only when there is a federal question which springs up a federal jurisdiction.

Has a constitutional right ever been revoked? ›

Never in its history has the Supreme Court ended a basic constitutional protection. To be sure, following its seminal 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as a fundamental right, the Court narrowed its scope in Planned Parenthood v.

What is the 11th amendment? ›

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Which court has the power to overrule the decision of a federal appeals court? ›

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system, and has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or those brought in state court but dealing with federal law.

What is supreme jurisdiction? ›

What is the rule of four certiorari? ›

In the Supreme Court, if four Justices agree to review the case, then the Court will hear the case. This is referred to as "granting certiorari," often abbreviated as "cert." If four Justices do not agree to review the case, the Court will not hear the case. This is defined as denying certiorari.

What branch can impeach the President? ›

Article I, Section 2, Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

What does the 10th Amendment say? ›

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Can Congress limit Supreme Court jurisdiction? ›

In addition, Congress possesses extensive authority to regulate the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts, and may limit the cases the Supreme Court can hear on appeal by generally stripping the federal courts of jurisdiction over certain cases. Barry v. Mercein, 46 U.S. (5 How.)

What is the most common type of case heard by the Supreme Court? ›

Most of the cases the Supreme Court hears are appeals from lower courts.

What are all 8 types of cases the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over? ›

Federal courts generally have exclusive jurisdiction in cases involving (1) the Constitution, (2) violations of federal laws, (3) controversies between states, (4) disputes between parties from different states, (5) suits by or against the federal government, (6) foreign governments and treaties, (7) admiralty and ...

What is dual jurisdiction? ›

This means the county has two separate court systems for youth involved in the dependency system and youth involved in juvenile justice system (The dependency system is involved when a youth is suspected of being a victim or abuse or neglect).

Can Supreme Court overturn federal law? ›

While the Constitution does not explicitly give the Court the power to strike down laws, this power was established by the landmark case Marbury v. Madison, and to this day, no Congress has ever seriously attempted to overturn it. Abolishing judicial review entirely is unlikely to occur anytime soon.

Can a state disobey the Supreme Court? ›

Indeed, James Madison—arguably the most important architect of our Constitution—contended that state governments have a legitimate right to defy the Supreme Court when the Court oversteps its constitutional authority.

Can you sue a Supreme Court decision? ›

Judicial immunity does not protect judges from suits stemming from administrative decisions made while off the bench, like hiring and firing decisions. But immunity generally does extend to all judicial decisions in which the judge has proper jurisdiction, even if a decision is made with "corrupt or malicious intent".

Who holds the power to impeach a federal judge? ›

Federal judges can only be removed through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate.

What is the most important power of the Supreme Court quizlet? ›

The main power of the Supreme Court is judicial review. Only the Supreme Court can interpret the Constitution.

How the importance of precedent influences Supreme Court decisions? ›

Each case decided by a common law court becomes a precedent, or guideline, for subsequent decisions involving similar disputes. These decisions are not binding on the legislature, which can pass laws to overrule unpopular court decisions.

Why is legal precedent important to the courts? ›

To put it simply, stare decisis holds that courts and judges should honor “precedent”—or the decisions, rulings, and opinions from prior cases. Respect for precedents gives the law consistency and makes interpretations of the law more predictable—and less seemingly random.

Who is the most important in the Supreme Court? ›

John Marshall was the longest serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in history. He is widely considered the most influential Supreme Court justice.

What is the most important part of a Supreme Court opinion? ›

Main Opinion

This is the Court's official decision in the case. In legal terms, the opinion announces a decision and provides an explanation for the decision by articulating the legal rationale that the justices relied upon to reach the decision.

What is the most important power held by the federal courts? ›

Federal courts enjoy the sole power to interpret the law, determine the constitutionality of the law, and apply it to individual cases. The courts, like Congress, can compel the production of evidence and testimony through the use of a subpoena.

What is the Supreme Court most typically functions as? ›

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system, and has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or those brought in state court but dealing with federal law.

Who enforces Supreme Court decisions? ›

The Supreme Court has no power to enforce its decisions. It cannot call out the troops or compel Congress or the president to obey. The Court relies on the executive and legislative branches to carry out its rulings.

What are the values of the Supreme Court? ›

Core Values

Equal Justice: fairness and impartiality in the administration of justice; accessibility of court processes; treatment of all with dignity and respect.

How can Congress challenge the ruling of the court? ›

Congress can nullifY Supreme Court interpretations of federal statutes by enacting a new statute or amending an existing law.

How do you overturn a precedent? ›

A court decision or precedent is overturned when a judiciary rejects the result of a prior court proceeding. Higher courts may overturn the decisions of lower courts. Supreme courts can also overturn precedents established in previous court decisions.

What rights has the Supreme Court taken away? ›

Wade, ruling there is no constitutional right to abortion. Today's decision—which abandons nearly 50 years of precedent—marks the first time in history that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right.

Who is the strongest Supreme Court? ›

With the Indian Constitution granting it far-reaching authority to initiate actions, to exercise appellate authority over all other courts in the country and with the power to review constitutional amendments, India's Supreme Court is regarded as one of the most powerful supreme courts in the world.

Who was the greatest judge of all time? ›

His latest biography, John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court, supports that impression, celebrating Marshall while glossing his many flaws. “John Marshall is the greatest judge in American history,” Brookhiser declares in a grand opening line that sets the lionizing tone for the rest of the book.


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