WASHINGTON (CN) - Feeling the absence of the late Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court could not muster a majority Tuesday to shake up a bank's defeat of discrimination claims.
The case involves four loans totaling more than $2 million that Community Bank of Raymore made between 2005 and 2008 for PHC Development to develop a residential subdivision,
Neither Valerie Hawkins nor Janice Patterson had any legal interest in PHC but executed personal guaranties in favor of the bank, along with their husbands, who served as PHC's two members.
When PHC missed loan payments in April 2012, Community declared the loans in default and eventually tried to collect on the wives' guaranties.
The women in turn filed a federal complaint against the bank in Kansas City, Mo., taking aim at the requirement that they had to guarantee PHC's loans.
They claimed this requirement amounted to discrimination on the basis of marital status, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
Without comment Tuesday, the Supreme Court said it had to affirm by an equally divided court.
The court has been one member short since Scalia's death on Feb. 13. Scalia had been present for the Oct. 5 hearing on this case.