Jun 27 2012
In her New York Times essay on Wednesday, Linda Greenhouse reviewed the important rulings issued by the Supreme Court on Monday. She also examined those cases just for any light they might shed on the health care decision expected on Thursday.
It may be found, arguably, in the upholding of federal legislative authority (and the vehemence of Justice Scalia’s dissent) in the Arizona immigration case, and in Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion dissenting from the court’s decision in the Miller case:
Chief Justice Roberts was not completely silent on Monday. He filed an opinion dissenting from the court’s other decision that day, Miller v. Alabama, which barred mandatory sentences of life without parole for those convicted of committing murder before the age of 18. Noting that the federal government and most states have such sentencing laws on their books, the chief justice criticized the court’s majority for having failed to “display our usual respect for elected officials.” Courts “must presume an Act of Congress is constitutional” barring some obvious reason it isn’t, he said, citing a 19th-century precedent for that proposition. And quoting the 1976 Supreme Court decision that reauthorized capital punishment, he said there was a “heavy burden” on “those who would attack the judgment of the representatives of the people.”
Considered in relation to the Affordable Care Act, that language might be read as suggesting good news for ACA supporters tomorrow.
But perhaps not. Aside from the Justices and perhaps some of their clerks, nobody really knows what the ruling tomorrow will be. There have been no leaks about the health care decision. Even while renewing her prediction that the Court will uphold ACA, Greenhouse acknowledges that it is “undoubtedly foolhardy” to make one.
Greenhouse anticipates the scene at SCOTUS tomorrow and recalls a similarly dramatic day almost exactly 20 years ago:
Thursday promises to be a rare day of Supreme Court theater. While there are frequent dramatic moments at the court, they occur randomly, because the justices don’t announce in advance which decisions they will hand down on a given day. But once a decade or so, the last day of the term arrives with a momentous case still undecided, so there is no secret about what the day holds in store. I remember the almost unbearable tension in the courtroom on June 29, 1992, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was due to be decided and there was a distinct prospect that the court would use that case to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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