Democrats hoping to use the death of Antonin Scalia to their political advantage hit upon what they mistakenly thought was another piece of “evidence” in their favor yesterday. To the shock of many with little understanding of the history of the Supreme Court, the justices are back in business and doling out decisions from the current session. On Tuesday, while the world was focused on the awful events in Brussels, SCOTUS delivered the first of what may turn out to be several deadlocked votes, delivering a 4-4 tie in the case of Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. This relatively unremarkable case wound up receiving a one sentence finding rather than any extensive endorsements and dissents, but strangely enough the legal system has yet to collapse into dust.
The Supreme Court issued a deadlocked ruling Tuesday, its first since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The court tied 4-4 in a case involving whether a pair of wives should be held financially responsible for the failure of their husbands’ real estate endeavor.
Tuesday’s tie was the first since Scalia’s sudden death in February left the high court with eight justices. Democrats have been warning of such a scenario as they argue that the Senate needs to act quickly on a Scalia replacement to avoid a string of ties.
The outcome of Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore leaves in place a lower court ruling that affirmed that the bank did not discriminate against the women.
The case itself was, as I already said, not really earth shattering beyond some very specific circumstances in the financial sector. It dealt with the question of whether or not a spouse who signs on to a credit form as a guarantor is, by default, in the same fiduciary position as the other marital partner who was the original applicant. The end result wasn’t that the case was somehow disqualified or thrown into disarray. It simply allowed one lower court ruling to stand for the time being. True, there was a second, similar case which had been decided differently so there was no clarification offered between the two, but that’s a matter which can be sorted at a later date if required.
The idea of there being eight votes instead of nine on the Supreme Court is nothing new and it happens more often than just when a justice retires or passes away. Elena Kagan has had to recuse herself from cases in recent years, including some very high profile ones, due to her long history of work as Solicitor General. Whenever that happens, eight justices are left to make the decision an we’ve somehow managed to keep the republic from falling to the wolves.
When you see the line of Democrats being paraded out to talk about how the failure to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination is destroying the nation this week, keep this example in mind. Most of these Democrats pushed for the exact same delay when George W. Bush was nominating justices and they have no leg to stand on in this argument.