But Elizabeth Wydra, of the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center, is troubled by an eight-member court and has been urging the Senate to confirm Garland. While she agrees there are times when the court may prefer to issue a narrow consensus ruling, she says, "That doesn't mean that the court should punt on important legal questions simply because there is not a fully staffed court capable of setting national precedent and resolving profoundly important legal disputes."
You are here
A deadlocked Supreme Court cannot do its job. It cannot decide important, closely-divided cases about the meaning of the Constitution or federal laws, leaving people in different parts of the country with different rights. The Supreme Court was created by the Constitution to declare the law of the land. With only eight Justices, the Supreme Court, all too often, cannot do the job the Framers assigned to it.
However, Brianne Gorod, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, testified that a stay is different from an injunction. "An injunction is a binding restriction on the conduct of an agency," she said, whereas "a stay focuses on the enforceability of a rule. It just means the EPA can't enforce the plan while the stay is in effect." Gorod went on to note the Clean Power Plan gives states the opportunity to design emissions-reduction plans that make sense for their citizens; only if they choose not to do so would the EPA directly regulate plant emissions in that state.
An eight-member Supreme Court over “an extended period of time is harmful to the proper functioning of the Court and to the nationwide rule of law,” a May 20 report by progressive groups People for the American Way and the Constitutional Accountability Center said.
David Gans, civil rights director at the Constitutional Accountability Center, said the Oklahoma measure is "clearly unconstitutional." Unlike efforts to restrict abortions, he said, "This is not an attempt to regulate. It’s an attempt to flout Supreme Court precedent.”
But even if the measure becomes law, it’s unlikely to withstand legal challenges, said David Gans, civil rights director at the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, D.C. Gans said the measure clearly violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which ensures the precedence of federal law over state law, as well as the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. “This bill is really flouting these fundamental principles that the Supreme Court has explained and that are the law of the land,” Gans said.
States have significant authority to ensure the integrity and reliability of the electoral process, but they may not accomplish those ends by using means that result in racial discrimination. The Voting Rights Act does not permit arbitrary, discriminatory state laws that make it harder for racial minorities to exercise their right to vote. Simply put, there is no “voter identification” exception to the Fifteenth Amendment’s guarantee that the right to vote shall be enjoyed equally by all regardless of race.
The Court’s decision in the case may have delayed final resolution of the question presented, but the Justices’ opinions in Spokeo make clear why Robins should ultimately get his day in court. They provide an important affirmation that Congress has the power to give consumers a right to sue when corporations violate their federal legal rights.
The reasons for the most recent slowdown “boiled down to a reluctance of the ideologically divided eight-member court to take on an issue in which it might not be able to provide a clear answer,” Robert Barnes wrote early this month about an expert panel convened by the Constitutional Accountability Center.
“They are doing their best to avoid splitting 4-4, but at the same time they are demonstrating how they are having a hard time grappling with the important issues presented to them in these very big cases,” Elizabeth Wydra, head of the Constitutional Accountability Center, said. Wydra said the justices’ action was really a “punt,” evidenced by the concurrence by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “She noted the courts of appeals, after review, remain free to reach the same conclusions on the legal issues that they did before (overwhelmingly in favor of the government),” Wydra said. “I think today’s decision is much more about putting this off to another day.”
The decision is “clearly incorrect” and is likely to be reversed on appeal, Simon Lazarus, senior counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA... Lazarus added that the administration's standing claim wasn't “merely a technical” argument. If some portion of Congress has the ability to bring a complaint against the administration in the courts, it would “hugely magnify” the dysfunction already existing in Washington, he said.
“We look forward to the opportunity to have the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reconsider Judge Collyer’s unprecedented ruling allowing a partisan faction of Congress to use the courts to settle a political dispute over the interpretation of a statute,” said Elizabeth Wydra, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, which filed a brief in the case on behalf of Democratic leaders.