When the Supreme Court deadlocked on President Obama's immigration reform plan, it marked a major defeat for the president. The four-to-four tie left in place a Fifth Circuit ruling halting Obama's immigration reforms, essentially bringing an end to a program that would have prevented the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants -- and which the president had hoped would be one of his signature achievements.
But less than a month later, the government is asking for a second chance, petitioning for a rehearing once the court gets its ninth justice. Such rehearings are incredibly rare, but they are not unprecedented. To make its case, the government turned to the Court's own history, noting that an equally divided Court had reheard similar cases before -- many from the late 1800's. Hey, precedent is precedent.