The hearing — for which a date and witnesses have not been announced — is one of several fronts where Democrats are pushing back on the Texas abortion ban and on the conservative Supreme Court majority that let it go into force, despite its violation of the precedent set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“The Supreme Court must operate with the highest regard for judicial integrity in order to earn the public’s trust,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement. “This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans’ constitutional rights — and the Court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency.”
The hearing will examine the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called “shadow docket,” the nickname for emergency actions taken by the court that do not go through the full briefing and hearing process of a formal opinion.
By a 5-4 vote, the court just before midnight Wednesday issued an order that declined a request by abortion clinics that the justices block the Texas law, which was designed specifically with the aim of complicating the legal process by which federal courts weigh blocking laws before they go into effect.
The order came on the heels of two other major shadow docket orders the justices issued last month: one requiring the Biden administration to revive a Trump-era immigration policy and another throwing out the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium.
Nor do Democrats have the votes for the types of reforms to the Supreme Court that progressives have been pushing. Biden launched a commission to study those reforms after promising such a commission during the campaign, to deflect calls that he vow to expand the court.
During it, witnesses proposed mechanisms to remove judges and allow opportunities to override Supreme Court rulings.