In its first opinion of the new term, a unified Supreme Court ruled against a couple of drug dealers who were looking to shave a few years off their sentences.
While the outcome of today's opinion was not surprising it is noteworthy that no cases heard so far this term have resulted in an evenly split court. Monday's 8-0 decision came in a pair of cases that were consolidated into one hour of argument.
Kagan has been absent from 15 argument sessions held during the court term's first two months. So far, none of those case have produced a 4-4 tie. Normally, if the court is deadlocked the justices will quickly announce a short opinion saying they are evenly split and the decision of the lower court is affirmed.
Since that has not happened yet, it appears as if Kagan's absence from these cases has not impaired the court's ability to reach a majority or even unanimous opinion.
In Monday's decision, the court held that a pair of convicted drug dealers could not escape an additional five year sentence that was tacked on because their crimes involved firearms.