Originally Posted by paintmered
I have a question - if on the off chance a ruling has to go to the U.S. Supreme Court while Rhenquist is out on medical leave, does the court wait until he is healthy enough to hear the case? Do they continue with the remaining Justices? Is there a temporary judge from a lower court that sits in his absense? Who takes the role of Chief Justice?
If one justice is unavailable or recuses himself/herself, the remaining justices decide the matter. No temporary judge from a lower court can serve. I can recall that the Supreme Court's ruling during the Watergate scandal that Nixon had to turn over the tapes was an 8-0 decision. I believe that Rehnquist had recused himself from that case.
Of course, if only eight justices are deciding the matter, that would give us the possibility of a 4-4 tie.