The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have set off a political battle over who and when to replace him, but, while that is happening, the business of the Supreme Court goes on. There are six key cases on this year’s SCOTUS docket that probable 5-4 conservative wins may now be 4-4 ties. The cases involve important issues; one man one vote, abortion, religious freedom, Constitutionally defined separation of powers, affirmative action, and right to work.
- Evenwel v. Abbott: Heard in November 2015. This case from Texas answers the question of whether a state, when it apportions districts, has to limit itself to counting just voting population, or count everyone (including children, felons, and illegal aliens). The lower court sided with the state, which counted everyone. Without Scalia, this may be a 4-4 vote.
- Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt: To be heard in March 2016, this case evaluates the constitutionality of the Texas lawrequiring abortion centers to have the same medical standards as ambulatory surgical centers and requiring abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges. This, too, looks like a 4-4 vote – which would send it back to the lower court’s ruling that the Texas law was Kosher.