Last week, Dow Chemical made headlines by opting for a $835 million settlement in a class action lawsuit rather than risk having the case heard by a Scalia-less Supreme Court. A lower court had already ruled against the company for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for industrial chemicals, and prior to the settlement, Dow had appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
In the absence of Scalia's vote, taking the case to the eight other justices risked the company not just a loss in the specific case, but the potential for a broader ruling that would have put companies in a tougher position in future class action lawsuits.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association announced Thursday it would not petition the court to overturn an appeals court decision upholding a New York gun control law.
[T]he group argued that currently there are "only four justices committed to a proper understanding of the Second Amendment," and pointed out that a 4-4 decision would let the appeals court ruling against them stand. There was also the possibility, the statement said, that "in the absence of Justice Scalia’s influence," there would be a majority of justices that would actually affirm the lower court's decision, which would create a national precedent for courts to uphold similar gun control laws.
But if Scalia was right, justices aren't supposed to be partisan, so I have no idea why these groups have anything to worry about. It's almost as if Scalia were a partisan hack who could have been counted on to vote in yet another pair of 5-4 rulings in favor of ultra-conservative, business-friendly interests.
In other news, after ten years of sitting there like a toad on a log, Justice Thomas asked his first questions in oral arguments today.