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Politics & Elections

Creighton law professor says nomination of a new Supreme Court Justice can't wait

A Creighton University law professor says the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t wait until after the November election.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last Saturday means any rulings issued by the Court could potentially be decided on a 4-4 vote. Creighton University constitutional law professor Michael Fenner says cases related to voting rights, affirmative action, and immigration are before the Court right now.

Without a ninth Justice in place, Fenner says the vote on those cases could have a significant impact.

"If the liberal side can get Justice Kennedy with them, then they win, but if the conservative side gets him, then at best it’s a tie. And if it’s a tie, the Court simply says the lower court’s decision is affirmed by an equally divided court. So whatever the lower court said, whatever the court from which this case was appealed said, that becomes the law in that jurisdiction."

Fenner says President Obama has a Constitutional obligation to appoint a new Justice, and should do so soon. That issue has divided members of Congress along party lines, with key Republicans wanting the nomination to wait until after the election.