The Impact of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s Death on Upcoming Cases

The Impact of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s Death on Upcoming Cases

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. On Monday, February 22nd, the Supreme Court resumed and began hearing oral arguments without a full bench. Due to the current political leanings of the remaining eight justices, the likelihood of a 4-4 tie on the cases heard during the current term is high.

In the event there is a tie, the lower court’s opinion is affirmed and no national precedent is set. Where the Court is equally divided, no decision is rendered, and the judgment of the lower court remains in effect; however, that judgment is not binding and judges in future cases are not obligated to follow the Court’s decision.

The session which opened on February 22nd is six days long and will include oral arguments on twelve cases dealing with issues ranging from admission of evidence found during an unlawful police stop resulting in an arrest on an active warrant unknown to police at the time the stop was initiated to whether courts are required to investigate scientific evidence behind a state’s decision to regulate abortion based on promoting women’s health, or if they are to accept a state’s rationale without looking into its bases.

The death of Justice Scalia carries many implications, one of which is the determination of upcoming cases and whether any matter will be decided definitively or if lower courts’ decisions will be affirmed due to a divided Court.


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About the author

About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.