Mark Joseph Stern of Slate –
Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has dramatically altered the way it decides most cases—without acknowledging or justifying this radical shift. More and more often, the justices forego the usual appeals procedure in favor of rushed decision-making behind closed doors in what’s known as “the shadow docket.”
They issue late-night opinions on the merits of a case without hearing arguments or receiving full briefing, and often refuse to reveal who authored the opinion, or even how each justice voted. The public is then left to guess why or how the law has changed and what reasoning the court has embraced.
These emergency orders are supposed to be a rare exception; today, however, the court regularly uses them to make law in hugely controversial cases, including disputes over the border wall, COVID restrictions, and executions.