Why the four-four Supreme Court split is bad for Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Why the four-four Supreme Court split is bad for Arkansas

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 3:34 PM

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People for the American Way, the progressive interest group, has delivered a briefing on why the Republican roadblock to filling a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court until next year is bad for the country and, specifically, Arkansas.

President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia's seat. But Republican senators say they wont even consider the nomination. Arkansas's two senators, John Boozman and Tom Cotton, are adamantly opposed to allowing an Obama nomination to fill the seat, though the roadblock is unprecedented.

The blockade means the Court is split 4-4 on many important cases, a fact that — with differing opinions among the U.S. circuit courts — means the country lacks a uniform rule of law.

The interest group points out two cases of  interest in Arkansas because they arise in our judicial circuit:

* In Hawkins v. Community Bank, the Court split 4-4 on the question, can an applicant for a bank loan be required to have his/her spouse guarantee the loan? As a result of the Court’s split, conflicting lower court decisions remain in place, which means that a loan applicant in Arkansas can be required to have his spouse guarantee a loan, but in neighboring state Tennessee, there can be no such requirement.

* Next term, the Court will hear Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia. v. Pauley, in which a Missouri church argued that their religious liberty was infringed upon because while Missouri’s Establishment Clause prohibits state aid to churches, the secular work they are seeking aid for doesn’t violate the federal Establishment Clause. A 4-4 split could leave in place the 8th Circuit’s decision against the Church, which would affect Arkansas, but would fail to affect states who joined amicus briefs in support of the church like Louisiana and Ohio.
Sens. Cotton and Boozman frankly don't give a damn.

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