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Concern at opaque US Supreme Court rulings grows

Thursday, May 27, 2021


The Court’s institutional legitimacy to interpret and sometimes invalidate laws affecting major issues may be undercut by this resort to procedural shortcuts, as they remove the normal public briefings, arguments and explanations of decisions that underpin the Court's authority.


  • A Court renowned for its reluctance to upset settled legal expectations is changing law without the use of rigorous procedures.
  • The Court’s legitimacy may be damaged by continued use of unsigned orders that have lasting legal consequences.
  • President Joe Biden’s commission on Supreme Court reform has put the use of the shadow docket on its agenda.

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