"Predawn Justice at High Court; 5 a.m. order in voting case rare — but not new," is by Tony Mauro for the National Law Journal.
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent 5 a.m. order in a Texas voting rights case was rare, but not unprecedented. And it was rare only because of a little-known effort by the court in the 1990s to curtail postmidnight motions and orders — a campaign whose impact is still being felt.
Two decades ago, death row appeals filed at the eleventh hour — literally — were taking their toll on justices and clerks, as well as everyone else involved, from prison guards to victims' survivors and capital punishment protesters.
"The system was running the court," not the other way around, recalls former court clerk William Suter, who started in the position in 1991. "We had to spearhead an effort to stop this night business."
Related posts are in the Supreme Court category index.