Friday, December 6, 2013
WASHINGTON - Read these tea leaves: Conservative justices on the Supreme Court sound angry in their dissents this week because they already know that the court today will uphold the Obama administration's health care law.
Or how about: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a presumed health care law supporter, sounded pretty darn happy when she talked recently to the liberal American Constitution Society. Was this, in poker terms, another tell?
But wait! Perhaps, as former Supreme Court clerk Ed Whelan suggested Wednesday, Justice Antonin Scalia tipped everyone off that he'll be in a majority striking down the law because he's already read from the bench his unofficial quota of dissenting opinions and that means he won't be dissenting on health care.
True? False? Who knows. One certain fact: Speculation has run riot in advance of the health care ruling, due this morning. The tense wait has provoked obsession over everything from a justice's tone of voice and vacation plans to a short-lived, Internet-fed rumor that the decision was about to be issued on, ummm, May 24.
Rumor followers, Ginsburg said in her recent speech with some evident satisfaction, got their just desserts.
Put another way, she noted, "Those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know."
Those who don't know vastly outnumber those who do, which might explain why it's gotten so noisy.
In any event, the blather is inevitable when the facts are so scarce and the stakes are so high.
In what will be a set of interlocking decisions announced shortly after 10 a.m. EDT today, the court is set to declare whether Obama's health care law rises or falls, in whole or in part.