Well! I spoke too soon about a summer coffee break. This, Justice Magnuson’s last day, brings a volley of new opinions, including six in criminal cases. The link to the Court’s bulletin is here. Looking quickly, I see one 4-3 and two unanimous decisions, and a welter of concurrences in the remaining cases. We’ll do more with the cases in coming posts.
Today provides the last opportunity for the Court to speak as these particular seven. One wonders about the cases that are being held over. Has the Court worked to get out on Justice Magnuson’s watch everything in which the vote is close? Are there remaining cases that will be locked in a 3-3 tie without Justice Magnuson’s vote? Those, presumably, would need to be re-argued. How about cases that are 4-2 without Justice Magnuson? The additional vote would not affect the outcome but if it serves to convert a 4 into a 5, it lends weight to the Court’s voice. Four-two risks the impression that the Court creates precedent on a chancy margin; of course, so does 4-3. Do you re-argue these cases?