Scalia's death could affect politically tinged cases

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Challengers in two politically tinged cases at the Supreme Court this week face the seemingly insurmountable problem of being unable to count the five votes they need to prevail.

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has deprived conservatives of a reliable vote on a range of issues, and two such cases are before the court.

One case deals with the shape of congressional districts in Virginia. The second is the Obama administration's effort to accommodate faith-based groups that object to paying for contraceptives as part of their health insurance plans.

In both, Republican members of Congress from Virginia and the not-for-profit hospitals, colleges and charities appear unlikely to win the vote of at least one of the four liberal justices — based on the outcome of earlier, related cases.