Yesterday, the Supreme Court stayed a District Court order requiring Orange County Jail to take preventative measures to prevent further outbreaks, in perhaps the cruelest use of its shadow docket yet:
Sotomayor's dissent starts with pointing out the Court's increasing use of a shadow docket to change baseline outcomes without explanation. She then observes that 1)there's a new outbreak in the prison, and 2)they have misrepresented what measures they're taking. pic.twitter.com/7UFCYvJYYa— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) August 5, 2020
The claim that the prison would suffer "irreparable harm" — the standard necessary for a stay — if it was required to implement THE RULES IT CLAIMED IT WAS FOLLOWING is absolutely farcical pic.twitter.com/oONX2yMcSG— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) August 5, 2020
Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh decided to issue this absolutely indefensible stay at home because it's not safe from them to go into work pic.twitter.com/iq9cRAtfPP— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) August 5, 2020
There is no legal principle justifying this stay. The only “principle” animating it is the belief of the Republican appointees to the Court that prisoners are subhuman and extraordinary measures need to be taken to expose as many of them to a deadly virus as possible. That’s it. And yet there will always be a legal academic with an angle claiming that elite Republican lawyers are somehow different than Donald Trump and his followers. They aren’t.