Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Press Release

Thanks a lot, Ron Johnson: Supreme Court Issues First 4-4 Tie Since Passing of Justice Scalia

Sen. Johnson has expressed zero concern for this kind of scenario.

By - Mar 23rd, 2016 10:00 am

MADISON – What all reasonable Americans feared would happen as a result of Sen. Ron Johnson‘s Supreme Court obstruction finally came to fruition yesterday afternoon, as the United States Supreme Court issued its first 4-4 deadlock since Justice Scalia’s passing.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 ruling in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, where the court couldn’t come to a decision of their own on whether or not the bank discriminated against two wives who were held financially responsible for the failure of their husbands’ real estate endeavor.

Sen. Johnson has expressed zero concern for this kind of scenario, claiming, “If the court is deadlocked, there’s nothing guaranteed about a 4-4 split on a particular issue, then the ruling of the lower court stands.” [1] Yesterday’s outcome leaves in place a lower court ruling that the bank did not discriminate against the two women, and also means the Supreme Court failed to resolve a pair of conflicting lower court rulings on the question.

Instead of worrying about the very real possibility of a deadlocked court, Sen. Johnson is more concerned with a Democratic President nominating a replacement to the high court, saying that he is “concerned about changing the composition of the court to go 5-4 liberal.” [2] President Obama‘s nominee, Justice Merrick Garland, was supported by seven Republican Senators when confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1997.
Since the unfortunate passing of Justice Scalia, Sen. Ron Johnson has led the charge in obstructing any judicial nomination by President Barack Obama, even though the President has a constitutional responsibility to nominate a Supreme Court Justice and the Senate has a duty to vote on that nominee.

Throughout our country’s history, the Senate has repeatedly confirmed Justices to the Supreme Court in the final year of a president’s term – including times when the Presidency and the Senate were controlled by different parties. At least 14 Justices have been confirmed during a presidential election year.

Sen. Johnson’s unnecessary obstruction weakens the Supreme Court and compromises a fundamental part of American democracy.

“If Sen. Ron Johnson won’t do his job and vote on the President’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court, then we will see more gridlock like this on the nation’s high court,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Kory Kozloski said on Wednesday. “Unless Sen. Johnson’s goal is to make the Supreme Court as dysfunctional as the Republican-controlled Congress, he should do the job Wisconsinites elected him to do.”

BACKGROUND: 

Johnson Was Not Concerned About The Possibility Of The Supreme Court Being Deadlocked For Over A Year Because The Lower Court Ruling Would Stand. Johnson spoke about the possibility of tied votes on the Supreme Court until a new president took office: “If the court is deadlocked, there’s nothing guaranteed about a 4-4 split on a particular issue, then the ruling of the lower court stands. So again, rather than have a lame duck president decide or, quite honestly, a lame duck Republican Senate decide, let’s let the American people decide the direction of the Supreme Court.” [WBAY, Action 10 News, 2/21/16]

Johnson Was More Concerned About The Possibility Of A Liberal Majority On The Supreme Court Than About The Prospect Of The Court Being Deadlocked For Months. JOHNSON: “There’s not going to be damage to the republic if we don’t fill that seat for a few extra months. The Supreme Court takes a very few cases. You know, even if the court is deadlocked 4-4, the case is still going to be decided, whatever the appellate judge, appellate court ruled. Some of the current ones, I agree with the appellate court ruling, some I don’t. That would be the end result, and they could always be reconsidered the next year. It’s not like the Supreme Court rules on every case, it rules on a very limited amount. So again, I don’t see the imperative of, ‘We’ve just got to replace this individual.’ I’m more concerned myself, and I’m sure we don’t agree on this, I’m concerned about changing the composition of the court to go 5-4 liberal, because I think that does create an awful lot of problems in terms of freedom of speech-” [WCCO, John Williams2/16/16]

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One thought on “Thanks a lot, Ron Johnson: Supreme Court Issues First 4-4 Tie Since Passing of Justice Scalia”

  1. Steve says:

    With the Wis den party deciding to discount and undermine anything and everything that has to do with Bernie Sanders and his campaign, I find it very difficult to take anything they say as serious, factual and caring for the good taxpaying folks of this state.

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