I was reading about the Supreme Court and how not all the judges agree. Usually one side will sign on to the majority opinion and the other side will write a dissenting minority opinion, but there have been several cases where there was no single majority opinion, where one of judges wrote their own independent opinion that agreed with the verdict for one side but for very different reasons. So the court ruled, but there was not a clear coherent single majority opinion.
Well I was wondering, if the rest of the judges were equally divided, could a single Supreme Court judge set a complex set of conditions, provided his opinion fits within the range of dissent between both sides?
Suppose the issue is Abortion. 4 Supreme Court justices say abortion is illegal and 4 justices say abortion is a woman’s right. But the remaining justice decides to be mischievous and use the position of his tie-breaking vote for something controversial. Harkening back to the days of Dred Scott vs Sandford as precedent, he writes a minority opinion stating that African American women should be allowed to get abortions but that White women should not be allowed. All the other judges sitting on the court are outraged by this of course, this is definitely not the ruling they had in mind.
Well my question is this: would this lone rogue judge effectively be able to write the defining opinion and decide the verdict in this situation?