Why Supreme Court is fast-tracking religious freedom cases on its ‘shadow docket’

People hold hands as they sit indoors in front of a Bible. On April 9, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that California cannot stop people from gathering in homes for religious purposes. Photo by Shutterstock.

Late Friday night, the Supreme Court ruled that California cannot prevent people from gathering in homes for religious services. The unsigned order came in a narrow 5-4 vote just before midnight. It was part of the court’s so-called “shadow docket” — not part of the normal court calendar and with no oral arguments before the justices.

Also on Friday, President Biden signed an executive order that’s setting up a commission to explore ways to reform the Supreme Court, including the size of the court, and whether or not justices should have lifetime appointments.

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