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The Shadow Docket

Nonfiction / Law / Judicial Power

Date de parution: May 16th 2023

The Shadow Docket

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

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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Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

Page Count: 352

ISBN-13: 9781541602632

What's Inside

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“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
“Stephen Vladeck shines a harsh light on a little-understood SCOTUS sleight of hand — the shadow docket. Vladeck describes in clear and convincing language how the highest court in the land has increasingly used obscure procedural orders to shift the legal landscape to the right, at the expense of transparency, precedent, and fundamental rights. It is vital reading.”—Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
"Steve Vladeck uses his intimate knowledge of the Supreme Court to show how the conservative justices are manipulating the court's docket to maximize their power and achieve their desired outcomes. The Shadow Docket is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how today's court really works."—Linda Greenhouse, author of Justice On the Brink
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