David P. Miranda, president of the New York State Bar Association, today issued the following statement:
“It is critical to the functioning of the Supreme Court that the vacancy resulting from the death of Justice Antonin Scalia be filled promptly, after due consideration, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
“A compelling argument for the need for a full Court was given in the decision in Cheney v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, written by Justice Scalia. In denying a motion to recuse himself, Justice Scalia said:
‘[If] the Court proceeds with eight Justices, raising the possibility that, by reason of a tie vote, it will find itself unable to resolve the significant legal issue presented by the case….Even one unnecessary recusal impairs the functioning of the Court….Moreover, granting the motion is (insofar as the outcome of the particular case is concerned) effectively the same as casting a vote against the petitioner. The petitioner needs five votes to overturn the judgment below, and it makes no difference whether the needed fifth vote is missing because it has been cast for the other side, or because it has not been cast at all.’
Miranda’s statement continues:
“The argument to fill a vacancy is even more compelling because it impacts an entire term of cases rather than just one case.
“Justice Scalia’s words live on after his passing. The process should move forward as expeditiously as possible.”
The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs