Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, May 13, 2016

Court Tie Shows Impact of Scalia’s Passing

With eight Justices and one vacancy, the Supreme Court has two options when the vote in a case is a 4-4 tie. The Court can issue a 4-4 decision, which affirms the lower court ruling but does not establish a nationwide precedent, or the Court can carry the case over for re-argument during the next Term, when it is more likely that the vacancy will be filled. The colossal case of Roe v. Wade, for example, was carried over for re-argument in the following Term after its author struggled to write the decision and two new Justices had joined the bench after the first argument.

Within six weeks of Justice Scalia’s death, the Supreme Court issued its first 4-4 tie decision without re-scheduling the case. This was a case in which Justice Scalia had actively participated during oral argument, demonstrating which side he was on by his many skeptical questions to plaintiffs’ attorney. Entitled Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, this was a lawsuit for discrimination filed by two women against a community bank. The women sought their own special right to sue for discrimination based on their status in merely guaranteeing loans to their husbands. The Obama Administration was not a party in this litigation, but used our taxpayer money to pick sides and obtain special time at oral argument to demand that the Court allow this new type of discrimination lawsuit.

This 4-4 Supreme Court outcome leaves in place a ruling by the Eighth Circuit that had disallowed this discrimination lawsuit. If Obama were allowed to fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy, then it is predictable that Obama’s choice would tip the scales in favor of the Obama Administration and in favor of more discrimination lawsuits against banks.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep comments short. Long comments will be deleted.