Supreme Court may face extended period with 8 justices
WASHINGTON - Is eight enough?
The Supreme Court has managed to function effectively at less than its full nine-member strength for two extended periods in the past 50 years. The question now is whether the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in the middle of the court term and a polarizing presidential campaign will make it harder for the justices to get their work done.
Scalia's colleagues will mourn their longtime friend and fellow justice this week before resuming their work on a lineup of cases fraught with political implications. Their test will be whether they can reach decisions in cases involving abortion, labor unions, President Barack Obama's health care law, voting rights, immigration and other topics without reaching an inconclusive 4 to 4 vote.