Senate Will Probe Supreme Court’s “Shadow Docket” Texas Abortion Ruling

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, said a panel will probe the Supreme Court’s practice of deciding weighty cases on an emergency basis.

The news comes after the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, voted not to block a Texas law that went into effect Wednesday that prohibits virtually all abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is typically after six weeks of pregnancy.

The Court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers to block the legislation, saying they had not met the burden required for a stay of the law.

“The Supreme Court must operate with the highest regard for judicial integrity in order to earn the public’s trust,” Durbin said in a statement. “This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans’ constitutional rights — and the Court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency.”

He added: “At a time when public confidence in government institutions has greatly eroded, we must examine not just the constitutional impact of allowing the Texas law to take effect, but also the conservative Court’s abuse of the shadow docket.”

The use of shadow-dockets became more common under the Trump administration, when the balance of the court was tipped to the right.