One spouse opens a business – let’s say the husband as it was in a recent case. The financial institution providing the seed money for that business asks not only him but also his wife to execute a guarantee. They would not ask that if the couple was not married. Is the bank discriminating against her on the basis of marital status?
As a threshold question, it depends on whether the applicable federal law applies to guarantors as well as loan applicants. (The Applicant in this case was the business.) And on that count, it depends where you live, because the Federal Courts of Appeal are divided. So the Supreme Court took the case to resolve the question.
Except that it did not. It divided 4-4 and the case passed through the Supreme Bench without an opinion, without setting precedent.
Members of this firm are unfailingly apolitical in our practice. We are wedded to the law. It matters not if George W. Bush or Barack Obama is in the White House; or if a vacancy on the bench was created by the loss of Scalia (a conservative lion in political terms) or Ginsburg (his liberal counterpart.) Few enough cases make it to the Supreme Court, and those that do need resolution. A full Court is necessary to the health of our system of justice.