Liberals want us to believe that having an eight-member Supreme Court is the end of the world.
That the American political system will be thrown into tumult, that chaos will result and life itself will change forever.
It’s all nonsense.
The worst – the absolute worst – thing that may result from a U.S. Supreme Court with only eight members is that a few cases might be have to wait.
That’s it, really. In the event of a relatively rare 4-4 tie on a decision, the decision of the lower court is upheld, but it’s not considered precedent, meaning the Supreme Court could decide to hear it again at a later date.
Having a Supreme Court with eight members is nothing new, really.
“Over American history the size of the court has varied,” Constitutional law expert Adam Winkler told The Guardian, “from six members to 10 members to seven members to nine members. There’s nothing magic about nine.”
The Supreme Court could easily decide to simply wait until a new justice is finally confirmed, Winkler said. “History suggests that there is a precedent for holding some cases over rather than having a 4-4 split.”
Lower courts might be thrown into a bit of confusion about what the law states. Without a decision by the Supreme Court, everything would just be put on hold. But that’s likely what’s going to happen.
There’s almost “no chance” that Barack Obama will be able to replace Antonin Scalia with a justice who is left of center, or even “moderate,” for that matter. So it’s very likely the Supreme Court will go on with only eight justices for the next year, he said.
There are plenty of big cases the court was slated to decide this term – many of which Justice Scalia could have been a decisive vote on, from an affirmative action case, to Abortion restrictions to the ObamaCare contraception mandate to Obama’s executive orders on Immigration.
Without Justice Scalia, some of these decisions could favor liberals, others could tip toward conservatives. But that’s the way it works.
The court may decide to defer on these – or take them up. With an eight-member court it’s up to them – and it’s not the end of the world.
An an eight-member supreme court is unlikely to persist for much longer than a year, even if a Democrat was elected to the White House while the Senate stayed in Republican hands.
But, Constitutional scholar Jeffrey Rosen said: “Anything is possible. All you could say is that would be historically unprecedented to have that long a gap between nomination and confirmation, but we may be living in uncharted times.”
Uncharted times, indeed.
H/T: The Blaze
About Robert Gehl
Robert Gehl is a college professor in Phoenix, Arizona. He has over 15 years journalism experience, including two Associated Press awards. He lives in Glendale with his wife and two young children.