By Tony Flesor
LAW WEEK COLORADO
American Constitution Society president Caroline Fredrickson visited Denver on July 26. She sat down with Law Week to discuss the importance of filling the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia, the role of the Senate in considering nominees and how politics spill over into federal district court appointments, as well.
LAW WEEK: What is the need for addressing the vacancy on the Supreme Court?
CAROLINE FREDRICKSON: Evenly divided courts can’t decide cases. And we’ve seen that. Certainly in some instances on issues that are less contentious, less controversial, (the justices) were able to come to some resolution. But there were too many cases in which they were not able to actually come to an agreement, and the court split evenly, leaving the law in some state of disarray.
Often, the court is addressing issues that have divided the lower courts, and you’ve had different outcomes in different courts in the country. When the Supreme Court can’t resolve that disagreement, we’re left with differing understandings of our law in different places. Americans living in one of our federal circuits are going to get a different treatment under the law than people living somewhere else. It doesn’t make any sense, and in certain circumstances, it can be very disempowering or dangerous.