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Alito and Kagan Justices Samuel Alito, left, and Elena Kagan, right, testify before the House Committee on Appropriations during a Supreme Court Budget hearing, on March 7, 2019. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / NLJ

For the fifth time in two months, the U.S. Supreme Court used an unsigned order to block California’s pandemic-related restrictions on religious activities and, some scholars contend, to anonymously make new law.

Unsigned orders, or “per curiam” decisions, were once more often used for routine, non-controversial court matters, according to court historians. But increasingly they have been used during the tenure of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. for substantive, often divisive rulings.

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Marcia Coyle

Marcia Coyle, based in Washington, covers the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact her at [email protected]. On Twitter: @MarciaCoyle

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