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Shadow docket exposes high court’s political leanings

I have two simple problems with what the Supreme Court has done.

First, the plaintiffs in the Texas abortion case asked only for a temporary injunction. That sort of injunction is enshrined in the law as a means to keep the status quo while complicated issues of law and fact can be heard and decided. In the abortion case, the court itself recognized the underlying issues are extremely complicated, and that to make a decision would require a full presentation of all of the facts and arguments on both sides. Yet it denied the injunction, and that dramatically changed the status quo. We now have a whole new set of laws in Texas that did not exist before.

Second, whatever the court intended, its decision ended up looking very much political, not judicial. Enshrined in the Constitution is the idea that judges and courts are wholly independent from the president, Congress, and any political considerations. The courts are supposed to decide cases based strictly on the law and proven facts, not policy questions.



In the abortion case, even if all the justices thought they were adhering to those standards, the decision came across as hugely political. The ultimate result might be the same after a full trial of all the arguments and facts, but that won’t change the impression that the court now has a reputation for being in the same wrestling arena as the president, Congress and those who want to argue policy issues. That told all of us we can no longer consider the courts to be independent decision makers on matters that affect all of us. So much for trust.

Parker Maddux


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