Analysis reveals SCOTUS 'shadow docket' was favorable to Trump and religion
The U.S. Supreme Court is facing scrutiny for its handling of Christian and Jewish groups' emergency requests seeking to challenge COVID-19 mitigation restrictions on gathering sizes in the state of New York.
According to Reuters, an analysis reveals the pattern of rulings on "shadow dockets" used to expedite emergency applications. In many cases, the rulings appeared favorable to religious groups and former President Donald Trump.
"A Reuters analysis of emergency applications over the past 12 months offers a glimpse into the full range of parties seeking urgent relief from the top U.S. judicial body through the shadow docket," the publication reports. "The justices have increasingly relied upon this process to make rulings in a wide array of cases without the normal deliberative process involving public oral arguments and extensive written decisions."
The publication points to the court's 5-4 ruling on emergency applications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and a pair of Orthodox Jewish congregations.
The publication reports:
"All 10 requests were granted via the court's "shadow docket" in which emergency applications are decided hurriedly and sometimes late at night in a process that critics have said lacks transparency."
In addition to the rulings favorable to religions organizations, the analysis indicates the same emergency practices "were a key part of the court's docket during this one-year period that spanned a deadly pandemic and the contentious 2020 presidential election that Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden."
In wake of the latest docket analysis, David Gans, civil rights director at the Constitutional Accountability Center, expressed concern about the data as he noted that it suggests a "serious legitimacy problem."
Gans also highlighted that there appears to be an apparent shortfall where transparency is concerned as he noted that it gives the "impression that certain litigants have favored status," according to the publication.
"The biggest losers are the American people," Gans said. "By engaging in rushed decision-making and issuing rulings with little to no reasoning available to the public, the Supreme Court is acting without the sustained consideration, reflection, transparency and accountability Americans expect from the Supreme Court."
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