The Supreme Court will not hear any arguments this week. (It generally hears arguments two weeks each month between October and April.) As we wait for arguments to resume on October 31, some are speculating the eight-member Court is granting certiorari in fewer cases because of the justices’ concern about ties. But a column in the Washington Post suggests that the Court is also postponing hearing argument in cases it has already granted in the hopes that until after the Presidential election, a ninth member will be appointed to the Court. Particularly sparse is the two-week sitting that will begin Nov. 28. The Court is scheduled to hear only eight cases, down from the usual twelve. Moreover, three cases the court granted in January 2016, before Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, have yet to be scheduled for oral arguments, even though the court has already heard arguments in some cases that were granted months later.
The election is only two weeks away and CNN reports that some experts are gaming out a “doomsday scenario,” in which a candidate contests the election results in one state whose electoral votes are decisive. As in 2000, eventually the fate of the election would likely go to the Supreme Court. If the eight-member Court reached a tie in such a case, the justices would affirm an opinion from a lower court. But there would inevitably be calls for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself because of comments she made about Donald Trump in the summer. (Justice Ginsburg called Trump a “faker,” with “no consistency.” ISCOTUS Co-Director Christopher Schmidt discussed her comments on this blog last summer.) Were she to do so, then the case might be decided by only seven justices.
In more heartwarming news, just a few days after the election Ruth Bader Ginsburg will make her opera debut. The Washington Post reports that Ginsburg will play the role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp on the opening night of “The Daughter of the Regiment” on November 12 at the Washington National Opera. The 83-year-old justice will not sing but will have some spoken lines.