United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito. (Photo by Matt Cashore / University of Notre Dame)
United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. on Thursday (September 30) dismissed “silly” criticism of the United States Supreme Court’s use of a method to expedite urgent cases , including her recent refusal to block a Texas ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Alito’s nearly hour-long speech, titled “The Emergency Case,” was presented by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and its Laboratory on Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law (CAROL), and co-sponsored by Notre Dame Law School.
The emergency case allows the court to make quick decisions if needed and has been demonized for political reasons, Alito said during a speech to the McCartan courtroom at the University of Notre Dame. He said the rise of a new nickname coined in a 2015 law journal article – “the shadow case” – is partly to blame for the misperceptions and criticism surrounding the court’s use of the docket. ’emergency.
“The eye-catching and ominous term ‘ghost dossier’ has been used to describe the court as having been captured by a dangerous cabal which uses underhand and inappropriate methods to achieve its ends,” he said. “This representation fuels unprecedented efforts to intimidate or undermine the court as an independent institution.“
His comments came a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the process, with Democrats attacking him as being ideologically motivated.
The shadow case allows the court to bypass oral arguments and the normal deliberative process, and has been criticized for its lack of transparency. But Alito, one of the court’s more conservative judges, said decisions on emergency requests were “nothing new” and that the number of such cases coming before judges has increased in recent years. years.
He cited several recent cases where the court’s review of emergency requests has drawn attention, including the lifting of the ban on evictions by the Centers for Disease Control during the coronavirus pandemic. Judges also ruled this summer against the Biden administration’s efforts to roll back a Trump-era order requiring migrants to remain in Mexico pending completion of their removal hearings.
Alito dismissed “bogus and inflammatory” claims that the Texas abortion law court’s 5-4 decision amounted to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal in the United States.
“We didn’t do anything like that and we specifically said so in our order,” he said. Texas law came into effect last month.
He rebutted criticism of the emergency dossier in 10 points, calling the claim that the Supreme Court would hand down its rulings in the middle of the night to avoid the attention of journalists and the public as “insane nonsense”. He said that, often with only a few hours to render a decision, the tribunal may not have time to hear oral arguments, but its processes – aside from private deliberations – are completely transparent.
“We are doing our best within the time constraints imposed by this situation,” he said, comparing the work of the court in such cases to treatment in the emergency room.
Without citing specific names, Alito criticized politicians as well as the media for portraying his expedited decisions, which are often rendered without full court opinion, in a negative light.
“Journalists may think we can just give an opinion the way they formulate articles,” he said, but “when we express an opinion we are aware that every word we write can have consequences, sometimes huge. , then we have to be careful with everything we say.
Alito is the second Supreme Court justice to visit Notre Dame in recent weeks. Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the Tocqueville 2021 lecture on September 16. Another judge, Amy Coney Barrett, graduated in 1997 from Notre Dame Law School and was a professor of law for several years.
The director of the Kellogg Institute, Paolo Carozza, professor of law at Notre Dame, said that Alito had been in dialogue with Kellogg on issues in the field of comparative constitutional law for almost a decade.
During his visit to Notre Dame, Alito met with both undergraduate and graduate students and the faculty of Notre Dame. He has also provided advice to principal investigators at the CAROL Lab, one of Kellogg’s many labs that support high-impact, high-yield research while making the link between scholarship and policy. The Kellogg Institute specializes in interdisciplinary research on democracy and human development.
The CAROL Lab engages actors from civil society, national political bodies and international organizations by advising them on issues of development and constitutional reform, democratic institutions and the rule of law.