Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Georgia

What happens if a single justice recuses his or herself from the healthcare reform case and the decision ends in a deadlock?

Asked on 11/15/11, 12:38 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

In the event of a tie, the lower court opinion under review will stand. It will be essentially as if the Supreme Court never ruled on the case. The health care reform case is from the Eleventh Circuit, which covers much of the southeastern United States. That court's decision would continue to govern in the Eleventh Circuit, but not in the rest of the country. Other regions would be bound by the decisions of their own federal appeals courts, some of which have disagreed with the Eleventh Circuit.

Note that there are many facets to the case. Even if the justices are evenly divided on some of them, it is unlikely that their vote would be tied on every issue.

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Answered on 11/15/11, 3:06 pm
Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office also dba Glen Ashman Attorney

A tie vote would mean the lower court case would stand. Since there are conflicting rulings across the country, the effect would be chaotic. Bear in mind that the justices would likely tend to produce a ruling in such a case where a majority might agree on some piece of the case and that no justices have indicated they plan recusal.

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Answered on 11/15/11, 4:50 pm

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