Rarely do I hear Bob Mercer choke. But in his response to a gubernatorial tweet (which, oddly, I can’t find, and least not on the Governor’s account), South Dakota’s Pierre political reporter makes clear why yesterday’s Supreme Court stalemate on President Obama’s immigration policy is bad for the rule of law:
I choked when I saw a tweet from the governor’s office praising the U.S. Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s immigration amnesty as a victory for the rule of law. The court split 4-4. The court is supposed to have nine members, regardless of who is president. If a nine-member court upheld or overturned Obama’s immigration policy, that would be acceptable, because that’s how the system is supposed to work. A 4-4 tie means the Supreme Court reverts to a lower court’s decision. There is nothing supreme in that equation. Rule of law indeed [Bob Mercer, “4 Plus 4 Doesn’t Make 9,” Pure Pierre Politics, 2016.06.23].
A deadlocked Supreme Court leaves our nation stuck with patchwork applications of law and unequal rights for citizens in different circuits and states. South Dakota’s U.S. Senators, in refusing to do their jobs and act on the President’s nominee to fill the vacancy on our highest court, are undermining the rule of law.