Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Court hamstrung with just 8 justices
RGB says litigants are being denied opinions with 4-4 cases because of an 8-member court.
That that means no precedents are set and essentially a Supreme Court review has been denied,Ginsburg told a gathering of court officials in upstate New York.
One case this year was a First Amendment challenge to mandatory union fees by California teachers,Ginsburg said. The Supreme Court’s 1977 precedent — a ruling in a Detroit teachers’ case, which requires workers contribute to the cost of collective bargaining —”will survive at least until there are nine justices,” she said.
Another case the court didn’t decide concerned a challenge to mandatory contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it violated religious freedom, Ginsburg said. The eight justices requested additional briefs then sent the case back to an appeals court.
“Eight is not a good number,” she said. “Next year I anticipate reporting on the decisions of a full bench.”