The conservative legal challenge to President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, in line for U.S. Supreme Court review, would force the justices to wrestle with their own conflicting votes on when states have a legal right to sue the federal government.

What's the meaning of "wrestle with one's own conflicting votes on something"? I know 'wrestle with' means struggle with or handle something, but I'm not sure what one's own conflicting votes means. Does it mean that the justices have contrasting views on the issue?

Quoted from Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/11/usa-court-immigration-idUSL1N1362KD20151111#pOBIabKLQveaH8sB.99

  • 1
    The sentence itself is ambiguous in meaning and the article doesn't do much to clarify what the sentence is supposed to mean. Not everything you read will be well written.
    – user20792
    Nov 13, 2015 at 4:02
  • I think it means that they will face a trouble among themselves because each one of them votes differently and not in accord. Nov 13, 2015 at 4:42
  • Wrestle with their own conflicting votes - they have to do argumentative 'wrestling'. Conflicting votes. - Because judges vote whenever there are valid legal issues raised. (in this case, likely, the judges' respective votes are equally divided (or almost) that they have to 'wrestle' to settle the issue. (note: the phrase 'their own' is used to depict that even if there are several judges, they are treated as one body (the Court).
    – shin
    Nov 13, 2015 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


The justices do not always agree, and judges can even be inconsistent in their votes between cases. For example, a judge may vote in favor of abortion because a woman has a right to choose what she does with her own body based on the right to privacy, but then vote against euthanasia using reasoning that seemingly contradicts their earlier positions.

So, "wrestle with their own conflicting votes" would imply that the court is divided on the issue. Not only between judges themselves (the conservative-leaning judges vs the liberal-leaning judges), but also with judges who may have voted one way on one case, and a seemingly opposite way on a another similar case.

  • The similarity of one case to another is in the eye of the beholder. Nov 13, 2015 at 17:13
  • @VictorBazarov: I think you mean "is something only trained legal professionals are fully competent to discern", since the foundation of common-law systems like the United States uses is that cases can be meaningfully and correctly likened to each other. Nov 14, 2015 at 23:25
  • 1
    Examples, for the purpose of illustrating a point, are beyond the scope of ELL? You do not have to agree with the positions in the example. I am not asking you to. You just have to understand that some people may find the two positions (allowing abortion while not allowing euthanasia) are seemingly contradictory. And, more importantly, that this type of contradictory positions even within one judge's own voting pattern is not uncommon. Abstract reasoning is a wonderful thing old chap. Nov 15, 2015 at 0:32
  • 1
    Can you provide evidence from the article itself that supports your interpretation of the sentence?
    – user20792
    Nov 15, 2015 at 3:55
  • 1
    The article isn't written in a vacuum. Supreme Court Justices Admit Inconsistency, and Embrace It Nov 15, 2015 at 4:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .