The Shadow Docket

How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

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On Sale

May 16, 2023

Page Count

352 Pages

ISBN-13

9781541602632

Description

An acclaimed legal scholar exposes the Supreme Court’s increasing use of unsigned, unexplained orders to change the law—all behind closed doors 

The Supreme Court has always had the authority to issue emergency rulings in exceptional circumstances. But since 2017, the Court has dramatically expanded its use of the behind-the-scenes “shadow docket,” regularly making decisions that affect millions of Americans without public hearings and without explanation, through cryptic late-night rulings that leave lawyers—and citizens—scrambling. 

The Court’s conservative majority has used the shadow docket to green-light restrictive voting laws and bans on abortion, and to curtail immigration and COVID vaccine mandates. But Americans of all political stripes should be worried about what the shadow docket portends for the rule of law, argues Supreme Court expert Stephen Vladeck. In this rigorous yet accessible book, he issues an urgent call to bring the Court back into the light. 

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Praise

“In The Shadow Docket, Steve Vladeck tells an urgent story about an arcane aspect of American law that has momentous implications for a host of pressing political issues—and for the institutional legitimacy of the Supreme Court itself. In elegant, accessible prose, Vladeck exposes the degree to which significant battles, from abortion to immigration, are being adjudicated behind closed doors, in unseen, unsigned, unexplained decisions. This is a powerful work of argument and explication, and a call for a return to transparency and accountability in the decision making of our highest court.”
 —Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain
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