Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s untimely death could have a major impact on the cannabis industry.
On Friday, the court will weigh whether or not to take up a lawsuit that aims to overturn Colorado’s landmark recreational cannabis law.
For the lawsuit to advance, at least four justices have to vote in favor of hearing the case.
No one knows how Scalia would have voted. But given his history and public comments, it’s quite possible he would have supported a move to take up the case – and that he ultimately would have come down against Colorado.
His absence from the bench, therefore, could make it harder for the lawsuit to advance.
The attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska filed the suit against Colorado in late 2014, claiming its recreational marijuana law is unconstitutional.
Even if the Supreme Court takes up the case, it’s possible a final ruling would end up split in a 4-4 split if Scalia’s replacement isn’t named by then.
There are several possible outcomes in such a scenario, according to the International Business Times.
One possibility is the case stays unresolved until a replacement for Scalia is confirmed. Another is the case could be simply rendered moot by the tie, which means the Colorado rec law would stand. A third option is the court could appoint a special legal expert to examine the issue and file recommendations with the justices.