Some cases on hold un­til va­cancy is filled

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

The Supreme Court is set to be­gin its new term as it ended the last one, down one jus­tice and ide­o­log­i­cally dead­locked on a range of is­sues.

The ab­sence of a ninth jus­tice since An­tonin Scalia’s death in Fe­bru­ary has ham­strung the court in sev­eral cases and forced the jus­tices to look for less con­tentious is­sues on which they are less likely to di­vide by 4-4 votes.

It could be sev­eral months, at least, be­fore the na­tion’s high­est court is again op­er­at­ing at full strength.

“It’s a very in­ter­est­ing time at the court. That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily trans­late into in­ter­est­ing cases. In fact, it may trans­late into the op­po­site,” said Paul Cle­ment, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s top Supreme Court lawyer and a fre­quent ad­vo­cate in front of the court.

By law, the court con­venes on the first Mon­day in Oc­to­ber.

But the key date this year is the sec­ond Tues­day in Novem­ber, Elec­tion Day on Nov. 8.

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