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February 21, 2007


Tony Mauro

Sorry for this belated reply. The situation you describe happens from time to time when a justice recuses and the rest of the Court is tied 4-4. In such a case, the Court by longstanding tradition issues a judgment affirming the lower court decision and announcing the fact that it was equally divided. So the winner in the court below wins the case, and it's over. But also by tradition, the affirmance does not carry any weight as precedent in other cases.


Forgive this simpleton's question, but when a justice recuses him/herself from a case, doesn't it result in an even number of votes? What happens when a vote ends up 3-3? Who then is the decider[sic]? Does the presiding judge have the tiebraker? Katherine Harris?


Forgive this simpleton's question, but if a justice recuses himself/herself from a case, doesn't this leave an even number of total votes? Should a decision be 3-3, who the ultimate decider [sic]? The presiding judge?

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