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Mulford v. Smith

Swing Vote

A swing vote refers to a minority interest or neutral segment of the voters that combines its voting power with that of other minority interests or that of majority interests, creating a controlling interest. The swing vote comes into play in the state and federal supreme courts when justices vote whether to uphold or strike down the rulings of lower courts. Justices considered swing voters often make the difference in close and controversial decisions. These justices sometimes hold views that fall in the middle of the political spectrum, that is, in between liberal and conservative or in between Democratic and Republican views. Since the U.S. Supreme Court includes nine justices and rulings are made based on majority votes, the swing voter makes the difference in 5-4 votes. Many legal scholars characterized Justice Byron R. White (1962-1993), for example, as a swing voter.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Mulford v. Smith - Significance, Justice Roberts Reverses Himself, Swing Vote