While the country is deeply saddened by Justice Scalia’s death, many are still in shock over the loss of a truly influential judge. It is Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution that gives the President, with advice and consent of the Senate, the authority to appoint judges of the Supreme Court. As the current President Obama fights with Republicans in the Senate over the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice, it will be interesting to see how upcoming case decisions will change due to the loss of such an outspoken legal figure.
Forthcoming Supreme Court decisions will, for the most part, be reviewed as an eight judge panel. This means that decisions that were originally 5-4 could result in a 4-4 even split. That being said, Tom Goldstein from SCOTUS Blog wrote a piece addressing this issue. Read his article here.
Most notable of Goldstein’s post is this:
If Justice Scalia was part of a five-Justice majority in a case – for example, the Friedrichs case, in which the Court was expected to limit mandatory union contributions – the Court is now divided four to four. In those cases, there is no majority for a decision and the lower court’s ruling stands, as if the Supreme Court had never heard the case. Because it is very unlikely that a replacement will be appointed this Term, we should expect to see a number of such cases in which the lower court’s decision is “affirmed by an equally divided Court.” (emphasis added)
Also, please be sure to check out SCOTUS Blog’s other coverage on Justice Scalia’s death available here.