U.S. Supreme Court Justices Tap the Brakes- Wary of Taking Major Cases Without Nine Members

David G. Savage reported on the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times that, “Since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, leaving a seat open, the remaining justices have voted to take only seven new cases for the fall, about half as many as during the same time last year.

And most of the seven involve technical disputes over patents and copyrights or matters of legal procedure that do not split the justices along conservative and liberal lines.”

The article noted that, “Two weeks ago, however, the high court turned down a potentially momentous copyright clash for the digital era.

“The Authors Guild contended that digital giant Google was blatantly infringing the copyrights of the authors when it scanned 20 million books so they could be searched and read online. The justices issued a one-line order dismissing the case.

Lawyers who file appeals regularly at the high court and others who closely follow its work say it is clear the justices, at least for now, are wary of taking on major cases.”

Mr. Savage explained that, “Republicans in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have vowed not to hold hearings or vote on a new nominee until a new president is elected.

“If they stick to that plan, the high court may not have a full contingent until next spring.”

However, today’s LA Times article added that, “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his colleagues say they are proceeding as normally as possible.”

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