In Rhode Island Case, Chief Justice Roberts Once Again Uses Shadow Docket to Maintain The Status Quo
Chief Justice Roberts is a riddle wrapped in an enigma made of cellophane. He perplexes people until he acts, and once he acts, his rationale is completely transparent. The latest entry on the shadow docket illustrates this point. In a series of recent election cases, the Chief (almost certainly) voted to grant emergency relief. In each case, the lower court had issued some sort of injunction that altered the status quo before the election election. The Chief intervened to restore the status quo.
Today in RNC v. Common Cause, the Chief declined to intervene, because an injunction would disturb the status quo. In this case, Rhode Island and civic groups reached a settlement that would waive the requirement to have absentee ballots signed in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. The district court approved that settlement. And that rule was in effect for the June election. The RNC challenged the agreement, and lost in the lower court. The RNC then sought emergency relief from the Supreme Court. The order
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