When a 4-4 Supreme Court is a Good Thing

Five Thirty Eight: “We can’t know for sure which lower-court decisions would have been reversed on 5-to-4 votes at the Supreme Court this term. But we can guess, using two sources of Supreme Court prediction: the {Marshall}+ algorithm and the wisdom of the crowd competing in everyone’s favorite Supreme Court/fantasy sports mashup, FantasySCOTUS:”

Voting rights: Wittman v. Personhuballah

“This case originated from a redistricting ruling in Virginia. A lower court held that race played too strong a role when the state legislature redrew the boundaries of a Virginia congressional district. The court said the district, Virginia’s Third, was gerrymandered because the legislature packed black voters into its boundaries in a way that diluted their vote in other districts. Republicans appealed that ruling to the high court. Scalia was seen by FantasySCOTUS as very likely to vote to overturn the lower court’s ruling.”

Unions: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

“This is a case involving the ability of public-sector unions to collect the equivalent of dues from workers who choose not to join the union. The unions say that if they lose that ability, they will not be able to effectively bargain with government employers, but the justices — and particularly Scalia — seemed unsympathetic to that position during oral arguments in January. Scalia’s death may allow these unions, with a combined membership of more than 9 million public workers, to avoid a loss, at least for the time being.”

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