Scalia's Death And Supreme Court Cases - What Now?

Posted: Feb 15 2016, 6:39am CST | by , in News | Latest Political News


Scalia's Death and Supreme Court Cases - What Now?
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For the last few days it has almost taken over the airwaves, stealing attention from the presidential race, and it isn't going to stop anytime soon. Justice Scalia's death has sent everyone in Washington over the edge - arguing whether or not President Obama should have the right to appoint a new justice (he does) and whether or not he has enough time to do so (he does), even though Republicans plan to block anyone nominated by Obama, as this would shift the Supreme Court from conservative leaning to liberal leaning.

The problem is that even though Republicans might want to block it, they will be getting an argument from inside the Court as well: with eight justices evenly divided, they will be looking at a lot of 4-4 ties with no way to breaking them.

But there are still other problems as well:

Scalia's Opinions Can't Stand

If Scalia voted on something that hasn't been settled or drafted an opinion on pending cases, they no longer matter to the court. Supreme Court Lawyer Roy Englert told CNN that “the vote of a deceased justice does not count.”

Nothing is final for the Supreme Court until it has been released publicly, which means if we don't know the verdict, it will have to be retried. In some cases, it won't matter because Scalia's vote wouldn't make or break the verdict. 

If There's a Tie...

If there is a tie, there are a few options the justices can have. They could vote to hear the care a second time when a new justice is appointed. Or, they could hand down a one-sentence opinion on that matter that upholds whatever result was reached in the lower court. In this case, it wouldn't be a nationwide rule.

This is a major reason why the Supreme Court doesn't like to have ties, because they want to finish their work quickly. Ties get in the way of the ultimate Constitutional goal of the Supreme Court, which is to establish legal precedents for all of the United States.

Specific Cases Affected by Scalia's Death

Scalia's death takes the conservative part of the court from the majority and pushes them into a deadlock with the liberal leaning side of the court. This has a significant impact on a few cases in the coming months, including a labor union case and he Obamacare law focusing on religious liberty and contraceptives. The vote will now likely favor the Obama administration.

There are other challenges, including one on gerrymandering that needs to be heard but likely won't be, will probably be pushed off for quite a while until they can have nine justices.

Another case that faces a problem now will be the Obama Administration's plan to shield around 5 million people from deportation was recently struck down in a smaller court, and the Supreme Court is now likely to leave that be.

For now, the court will try to continue as they have in the past, but it will be difficult for them. Hopefully the Republicans in the Senate do what is right and confirm whoever Obama puts forward.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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