It has been a quiet week at the Court, but speculation about when, whether, and how the Court might rule on the constitutionality of the health care initiative continues.

Amidst predictions that the Court will not hear a challenge to health care legislation for quite some time, Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced a resolution on Thursday asking the Court to act expeditiously.  The WSJ's Washington Wire blog, CNN, and both Daniel Strauss and Jason Millman of The Hill have coverage of the "largely symbolic" measure.

Although Senator Nelson is not alone in hoping that the Court will act quickly, most commentators seem confident that the Court will act eventually. However, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein discusses "“ and ultimately disputes "“ a prediction by one anonymous "conservative legal scholar"  that the Court will not take up the issue. Jennifer Rubin, also a blogger for the Washington Post, agrees with Klein that the Court is likely hear the case, but she disagrees with Klein's suggestion that it will do so for political reasons.

Neither the possibility that the Court will avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the health care law nor the prospect that it may be some time before it does so appears to have dampened enthusiasm for speculating about how the Court will rule, particularly in light of the recent decision by federal judge Roger Vinson striking down the law in its entirety.  NPR's Nina Totenberg cautions that "[h]istory indicates that early court decisions are hardly predictive" of how the Court will ultimately rule. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick observes that early predictions that the Court will vote to uphold the law by a wide majority have been replaced by suggestions that the outcome will turn on "a coin flip in Anthony Kennedy's chambers." She hypothesizes that "legal precedent [could] be less important than popular opinion" in deciding the fate of health care reform. Regardless of the outcome, TIME's Michael Lindenberger emphasizes that "more than just health care reform is at stake;" the challenges to the health care legislation "could profoundly redefine the limits of congressional power."


  • At Fox News, Judson Berger discusses whether the Court intended to "send[] a message to one of the country's most liberal appeals courts" when it "unanimously overturn[ed] five consecutive cases out of the 9th Circuit in less than a week."
  • At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr profiles Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "Her visibility among the public," says Stohr, "is more than matched by her prominence in the courtroom."

Posted in Round-up

Recommended Citation: Amanda Rice, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 3, 2011, 9:20 AM),