The Shadow Court
“Fresh Air” always has something interesting to impart.
I was excited to see “The Impact of Trump Appointees on the Supreme Court” as a topic this week. I was less excited when it was Dave Davies instead of Terri Gross doing the interview. Both Dave and Terri work from the same research and have the same producers suggesting questions, but Terri allows the interviewee to be the star while Dave asks the questions and gives half the answer himself. Also, Terri has one of the most unique voices on radio while Dave has the sleep-inducing mellow sound of an overnight FM disk jockey from the ‘70s.
The interviewee was a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered the Supremes for years. She also just wrote a book with the same title as the interview. What a surprise.
She revealed that the Trump Court utilizes the “Shadow Court” option much more than previous Courts did. The “Shadow Court” issues short, anonymous opinions almost overnight. The decision allowing the Texas Abortion Law to remain in force since September was a “shadow opinion”. Normally, Supreme Court arguments and opinions are documented on its website, totally transparent. The public knows which Justices supported which side of a case and their rationale for doing so. “Shadow opinions” avoid public scrutiny.
A prime example of “shadow opinions” came when Donnie decided to burnish his reputation as a Law and Order President in July, 2020. No Federal Death Row prisoners had been executed for seventeen years, but Donnie had his Attorney General schedule executions anyway. Thirteen prisoners were killed before he left office.
Of course, the Death Row inmates’ lawyers requested stays of execution from the Supreme Court. “This is an attempt by an incumbent president to influence the electorate.”
Conversely, convicted felons can’t vote anyway. Trump’s base will love it.
The “Shadow Court” allowed it in those thirteen cases. Not only do the Supremes have life-long appointments but they can avoid negative publicity by remaining anonymous. It’s a win-win and it makes the guy who appointed three of them happy.
If the Court is so pro-life that they force Texas women to carry fetuses to term, how can they justify killing thirteen adults?
Pennsylvania has not executed a prisoner in more than 40 years. The Feds executed thirteen in six months. If you’re going to commit a capital crime, don’t let it be a Federal case.