Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued a serious rebuttal to critics that were decrying the recent “shadow dockets” decisions that have been made in the highest court of the land.
Alito was making the comments during a lecture on this “emergency docket” at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday.
The critics are citing three controversial cases where the Supreme Court had made emergency rulings where many of the liberal justices on the court were 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.”
Some of these decisions that the liberal justices took issue with would include the ban on abortion in Texas, one decision that allowed the Trump-era immigration restrictions to continue, and the end of the eviction moratorium.
Alito was quick to point out that these cases had come 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.
Alito went on to argue that this unreasonable criticism had made it appear that “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 each of the arguments against the court, dismantling each one. Moreover, he added that this strategy continued to be used in attempts to influence the court.
“This portrayal feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution,” he argued.
The comments of Alito definitely mirror some of the recent arguments made by other Supreme Court justices, including Amy Coney Barret and Clarence Thomas.