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Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Keeps Supreme Court Busy

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals covers just three states: Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. But as the Washington Post writes, the conservative court has “an outsize influence on the cases and controversies that reach the U.S. Supreme Court and testing the boundaries of the conservative legal movement’s ascendancy." In the new term that began this month, the justices already have said they will review eight decisions from the New Orleans-based court. And of the 13 emergency requests for relief that President Biden’s solicitor general, Elizabeth B. Prelogar, has brought to the high court, 10 have arisen from the 5th Circuit, according to a list of “shadow docket” actions maintained by University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck.


Many 5th Circuit cases to reach the Supreme Court follow the same path, the Post writes: “A conservative district court judge issues a sweeping opinion in response to a lawsuit filed by Republican state attorneys general or a conservative legal organization. That opinion is partially narrowed by the 5th Circuit, then temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court while it considers the merits.” A recent episode of Strict Scrutiny, a podcast about the Supreme Court, described the 5th Circuit as an “American Idol” for conservative judges hoping to be noticed for a spot someday on the high court.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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