Supreme Court in holding pattern, awaiting ninth justice

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The Supreme Court is set to begin its new term as it ended the last one — down one justice and ideologically deadlocked on a range of issues.
 
The absence of a ninth justice since Antonin Scalia's death in February has hamstrung the court in several cases. It's forced the justices to look for less contentious issues on which they're less likely to divide by 4-4.

It could be several months, at least, before the nation's highest court is again operating at full strength.

How the presidential election turns out will go a long way toward determining the judicial outlook of the ninth justice, the direction of the court and the outcome of several cases already being heard and others that probably will be at the court soon.

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