Justice Samuel Alito rebuked the ‘not serious’ media for its “unfair and damaging attacks” against the court over recent rulings like the Texas abortion case. Speaking at Notre Dame Alito said:
“The catchy and sinister term ‘shadow docket’ has been used to portray the court as having been captured by a dangerous cabal that resorts to sneaky and improper methods to get its ways.
“This portrayal feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution. The media and political talk about the shadow docket is not serious criticism. Journalists may think we can dash off an opinion the way they dash off articles.
“This picture is very sinister and threatening, but it is also very misleading. There’s nothing — absolutely nothing new about emergency applications.
“There is nothing new or shadowy about the procedure we followed in those cases.
“It’s like complaining about the emergency room for treating too many accident victims who come in.
“What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to decline to adjudicate them?
“Are we supposed to impose a quota? It’s a silly criticism.
Alito went on to call the media’s “false and inflammatory claims,” adding that SCOTUS did not overrule Roe V Wade:
“We did no such thing and we said that expressly.”
Alito complained that some critics of the Texas abortion decision said the court had effectively overruled its landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
“Put aside the false and inflammatory claim that we nullified Roe v. Wade. We did no such thing,” Alito said.
The justices will hear a case in December in which the state of Mississippi is asking for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
Alito acknowledged that the court is handling more emergency applications than in the past, but said that is because it receives more applications that must be decided. This is “not part of a nefarious strategy,” Alito said.
He also said it is “rank nonsense” to suggest that the court deliberately issues some of its decisions, like the Texas one, late at night.
Here is Justice Alito complaining that “the media and political talk about the ‘shadow docket’ is not serious criticism” but “feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court.” pic.twitter.com/KIiRaaFAOQ— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) September 30, 2021