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July 10, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

WRITERS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION presents the DEMOCRACY BOOK CLUB: Stephen Vladeck, James Carroll, & Robin Davidson


Books & Books


July 10, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm



Writers for Democratic Action and BookPeople present…


in conversation with 

James Carroll & Robin Davidson


The Shadow Docket

Monday, July 10,  7 PM (ET)/ 6 PM (CT) / 5 PM (MT), 4 PM (PT)



The Supreme Court has always had the authority to issue emergency rulings—halting an execution or preventing a law from going into effect until lower courts could rule on its constitutionality—but until recently, it did so only in exceptional circumstances and issued only narrow rulings. Yet in the past decade, the court has expanded its use of the behind-the-scenes “shadow docket” dramatically, handing down major decisions that impact millions of Americans without oral argument or signed opinions, and often without any legal reasoning. While typical cases take years, shadow docket cases may only take weeks. They typically fly under the public radar, too—until now.

In The Shadow Docket, University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck offers a comprehensive analysis of the shadow docket, tracing its emergence in the 1970s in the wake of major court decisions on the death penalty and its recent embrace by a conservative-leaning court that has expanded it to set policy on everything from election law to abortion to immigration. Vladeck makes the case that Americans of all political affiliations have a stake in making the court’s decision-making processes more fully transparent.

James Carroll, a founding member of Writers for Democratic Action, will be in conversation with Professor Vladeck to explore this rigorous yet accessible analysis exposing a disturbing institutional crisis that threatens the very foundations of our democracy.  This event will be moderated by Robin Davidson and is co-hosted by Writers for Democratic Action, Books and Books of Miami, and BookPeople of Austin.


About the Panelists:

Stephen Vladeck holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law and is a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, and military justice. He is co-author of Aspen Publishers’ leading national security law and counterterrorism law casebooks, and his work has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate. He has argued cases before the Supreme Court and has been CNN’s Supreme Court Analyst since 2013. Vladeck lives in Austin, Texas.

James Carroll is the author of twelve novels, and eight works of nonfiction. For twenty-three years, he wrote a weekly op-ed column for The Boston Globe. He has received the National Book Award, the PEN Galbraith Award, and the Scripps Howard Journalism Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. His most recent book is The Truth at the Heart of the Lie: How the Catholic Church Lost Its Soul (Random House, 2021). He lives in Boston, with his wife the writer Alexandra Marshall.

Robin Davidson is a poet, literary translator, and professor emerita for the University of Houston Downtown. Most recently she has authored the poetry collection, Mrs. Schmetterling (Arrowsmith Press, 2021), and with Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska, has translated Ewa Lipska’s poems, Dear Ms. Schubert, from the Polish (Princeton UP, 2021). She lives in Houston and serves as chair of the Texas Chapter of Writers for Democratic Action.