Two major cases, involving abortion and President Barack Obama’s immigration actions, now remain before the U.S. Supreme Court as the judicial body’s current term nears its end.
The nation’s high court was left with eight members after the February death of conservative-leaning Justice Antonin Scalia, meaning cases pending before the Supreme Court could end in a tied decision. In the event of 4-4 split decision, a case’s lower court ruling would remain in place.
One case pending before the court challenges Obama’s executive orders on immigration. The executive orders, signed in November 2014, remain on hold amid a legal challenge from Texas and 25 other mostly Republican-run states.
Obama’s immigration actions look to shield undocumented parents of children with legal status from deportation for three years, in addition to extending deferred action to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and were not covered under the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
A deadlocked decision would keep in place the lower court ruling, preventing the immigration orders from being implemented.
Meanwhile, a Texas case looks at a strict abortion law imposed in the state. The suit challenges the law requiring doctors at abortion clinics have to admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and the facilities themselves have the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. As a result, there are now only nine fully operating abortion clinics in the state of Texas. Two lower courts have upheld the law that critics say is too burdensome on women seeking abortions considering the lack of justifiable health benefits gained by the law.